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Conduct Madhya Pradesh urban local body polls soon: HC tells state govt

The petitions said local body elections have been pending in the state for a long time. The government is avoiding them in the name of the coronavirus epidemic.

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The Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court on Thursday directed the state government to conduct elections to urban local bodies soon.

The division bench of Justice Sujay Paul and Justice Shailendra Shukla passed this order while hearing PILs filed in February 2020 regarding the delay in municipal elections, in which the state government and the State Election Commission were made parties.

The two PILs were filed in the High Court seeking local body elections be held soon. The first petition was filed by Bharat Parikh, a former councillor in Indore, through Advocate Harshvardhan Sharma and the second by Tolaram Gamad of Sardarpur, Dhar, through Advocate Pratik Maheshwari.

The petitions said local body elections have been pending in the state for a long time. The government is avoiding them in the name of the coronavirus epidemic. But on the other hand, by-elections have been held for 28 Assembly seats and Assembly elections have been held in many other states of the country. When by-elections can be held for Assembly seats, then what is the problem in conducting local body elections, the petitions asked.

The government, in its reply, stated that it is ready to hold elections. The government informed the court that on March 3, the voters list will also be published. It said the reason for the delay in holding local body polls is the coronavirus outbreak.

After considering the submission, the court said that when both the government and the Election Commission are ready, then the elections of the local bodies should be conducted without delay.

The tenure of all municipal bodies in the state ended a year ago. Election dates were first extended by the Kamal Nath government. After this, the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government also had to push it further due to the coronavirus infection.

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