K’taka to conduct long pending BBMP, local body polls soon

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Karnataka government is considering holding the long pending Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and local body elections soon.

The civic body polls in Bengaluru and local body elections are regarded as semi-finals for general assembly elections, according to sources in the government.

Ruling BJP leaders alleged that their government was not keen on holding BBMP elections. Presently, the matter is also before the Supreme Court following the appeal by the ruling BJP government. The polls are not being conducted for two years for BBMP. The polls for Zilla Panchayat and Taluk Panchayat are due for over one year.

The Karnataka government and State Election Commission are considering expediting the process after the Supreme Court order regarding conducting local body elections in Madhya Pradesh. The apex court had clearly stated that not conducting elections for 23,000 local bodies for two years is a clear violation of the law.

Also, the legal experts are being asked to study the order of the Supreme Court and recommend on conducting elections in the state. Revenue Minister R. Ashok has stated that now with the SC order, the state government will have to conduct BBMP elections for 198 wards in Bengaluru and there is confusion regarding the reservation.

The state government claimed that BBMP elections would be conducted only after the reorganisation of wards in Bengaluru.

In December 2020, the Karnataka High Court had given direction for the State Election Commission to hold BBMP elections.

But the state government appealed against the order and claimed that the process of reorganisation of wards is underway, and it would want to hold an election for 243 wards. Presently, BBMP has 198 wards.

The ruling BJP is hesitant to conduct elections as it fears backlash from dejected candidates. With the state Assembly elections being held in 2023, the ruling party thinks that the dissidence would affect its prospectus in Bengaluru city.

However, the opposition Congress is pressuring the ruling BJP to conduct local body elections, especially BBMP polls. With cabinet expansion on the cards, and the number of aspirants of the Legislative Council growing, local body elections would be a challenge for the ruling BJP in the state.

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