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Taluk, zilla panchayat polls may be deferred

M. Madan Mohan

HUBLI: The Karnataka Election Commission is unlikely to go ahead with the schedule for holding taluk and zilla panchayats elections on July 5.

The delay is because the Karnataka High Court is seized of the issue and petitions have been filed questioning the validity of the reservation made by the commission for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

The case has been postponed for hearing to July 13.

Sources in the commission said it had finalised the reservation pattern for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in just two months, a task which normally would have taken six months.

It had followed the procedure adopted on the previous occasion, but this has now been questioned in the High Court.

How soon the elections will be held is a matter of speculation. The delay can be minimised in the event of the High Court upholding the action of the commission.

There could be considerable delay (in holding the elections) if the High Court quashes the action and calls for framing of fresh rules.

Monsoon

Besides, monsoon season is expected to contribute to the delay since no political party is ready to face the electorate during that period. The delay has put the State Government in a quandary as interim arrangements have to be made for the bodies after the expiry of their tenure. There is a view that administrators should be appointed till the elections are held.

But a section of the Congress wants the term of the bodies extended through an ordinance till elections are held.

The only point of dispute is whether the Janata Dal (S) will agree to it.

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