An order by the Supreme Court on Tuesday directing state election commissions to hold polls for local bodies whose terms have come to an end is set to have a bearing on long delayed polls for the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), taluk and zila panchayat polls in Karnataka.
The term of the 198-member BBMP ended in September 2020, while that of 1,098 zila panchayat members and 3,903 taluk panchayat members across the state ended in March 2021.
The BJP government has not cleared the elections for these local bodies, citing a Supreme Court order mandating the fixing of quota for Other Backward Castes in local bodies only on the basis of an empirical study of the backwardness of communities in the OBC category. “I have heard the Supreme Court has issued directions to the state election commissions. We have to see what decision is taken by the election commission. The SC order applies to all states and local bodies and we will discuss with the state election commission and do as it says,” Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai said.
“We will study the issue thoroughly. We have already informed the law department. The AG is out of town and will return soon and he will also be asked to study the matter,” Bommai said, adding: “We are ready for the elections.”
Congress working president Ramalinga Reddy, however, accused the BJP of shying away from conducting the local elections for fear of losing.
The Karnataka government issued an order on May 8 for creation of a commission headed by a retired HC judge to conduct a study on suitable political representation for backward classes.