Hindustan Times (Lucknow)

Process to elect zila, kshetra panchayat chiefs to be completed by July 12: Govt

Notificati­on for the polls to the post of zila panchayat chiefs may be issued by the end of next week

- Brajendra K Parashar bkparashar@hindustant­imes.com

LUCKNOW : The UP government has informed the high court that the process for the indirect elections to the posts of zila panchayat and the kshetra panchayat chiefs will be completed by July 12, people aware of the issue disclosed.

In the first phase, the election to the posts of zila panchayat chairperso­ns will be held around June 20 while voting for the post of kshetra panchayat/block heads will take place in the second week of July, as per the plan chalked out by the state government.

“In an affidavit filed with the Allahabad high court last week, the state government had said that indirect elections to elect new zila panchayat and kshetra panchayat chairperso­ns will be held and completed by July 12,” said a senior official.

“The notificati­on for the polls to the post of zila panchayat chiefs may be issued by the end of next week and the poll process will take 15 days to complete after issuance of the notificati­on by the State Election Commission (SEC),” he added.

In an order passed on February 4, the high court had directed the government and the State Election Commission to complete direct elections to all the panchayats by April 30 and complete indirect elections thereafter within 15 days, that is, by May 15, 2021.

Though the direct elections to the posts of pradhans, village ward members, kshetra panchayat members and zila panchayat members were held within the deadline set by the court, the government sought to delay the indirect polls supposedly due to the devastatin­g second wave of the Covid pandemic.

“As the high court had set the deadline for holding indirect polls too, we had to file an affidavit in the court, informing it about the reasons why it was not possible to hold polls by May 15,” the official said.

Panchayati raj minister Bhupendra Singh said the government was ready to hold indirect panchayat elections now when the pandemic had subsided. “We hope to complete the exercise for the indirect polls electing new zila panchayat and kshetra panchayat chairperso­ns by Juneend or early July,” he hinted.

Now, 75,852 kshetra panchayat members and 3,050 zila panchayat members elected in the recent direct polls will vote to elect 75 zila panchayat and 826 kshetra panchayat chiefs, respective­ly, in the final round of three-tier panchayat polls.

Political parties have high stakes in the indirect elections and they are busy setting their electoral arithmetic right to ensure victory of candidates to be backed by them.

“Hectic campaignin­g involving efforts for horse trading and use of money and muscle power to win the support of independen­ts and others is already on in villages these days,” said an official of the panchayati raj department.

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