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Karnataka State Election Commission Postpones Gram Panchayat Elections Due to Covid-19

Representative image.

Representative image.

Leader of Opposition and former CM Siddaramaiah, however, had called out the SEC for not initiating the electoral process calling it 'unconstitutional' and a violation of the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act 1993.

The State Election Commission (SEC) on Thursday said that it would postpone the upcoming gram panchayat elections in Karnataka. Fresh elections have been necessiated as the tenure of 5,800 out of the 6,025 gram panchayats in the state, expires between May to August.

However, stating "exceptional circumstances" arising due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the commission has temporarily put off elections. Preparations for the electoral processes, including drawing up the voter-list, had also come to a halt due to the enforcement of lockdown since March.

Questioning the poll body's decision, the Congress party said it would challenge the move in a court of law. Leader of Opposition and former CM Siddaramaiah accused the BJP of once again gaining power through unethical means against public sentiments.

Earlier this month, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (RDPR) minister KS Eshwarappa had appealed to the commission to delay election. "Preparations for the elections at the ground level and at the administrative level have been affected by the lockdown. We have decided not to leave the administrative body vacant, instead, we will form administrative councils at every Gram Panchayat under Gram Swaraj and Panchayat Raj Act 1993", he said.

Siddaramaiah had previously called out the SEC for not initiating the electoral process calling it 'unconstitutional' and a violation of the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act 1993.

He had said that the delay in the elections of Gram Panchayat was a threat to the decentralised system of democracy & also goes against the objectives of 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act. He also objected to the formation of administrative committees.

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