The Maharashtra State Election Commission has decided to hold elections to five Zilla Parishads and bypolls to the seats in 33 Panchayat Samitis that were rendered vacant and converted into general category following the Supreme Court‘s verdict of quashing OBC reservation in local bodes on July 19. Maharashtra State Election Commissioner UPS Madan issued a statement stating that Dhule, Nandurbar, Akola, Washim and Nagpur Zilla Parishads will vote on July 19. The counting of votes will be taken up on July 20.
By-elections to the seats rendered vacant in the 33 Panchayat Samitis falling under the jurisdiction of these five Zilla Parishads will also be held on the same day (July 19), it said.
Polling for the Palghar Zilla Parishad and by-elections for the vacant seats in the panchayat samiti will be held after the improvement in the pandemic situation.
Recently, Maharashtra Rural Development Minister Hasan Mushrif had said elections will not be held for local bodies unless 70 per cent of the population is vaccinated against COVID-19.
Madan said elections to Dhule, Nandurbar, Akola, Washim, Nagpur and Palghar ZPs and 44 Panchayat Samitis under their jurisdiction were held in January 2020.
However, the top court in its order dated March 4, 2021 stated that the quota in favour of OBCs in local bodies shouldn’t result in breaching the overall 50 per cent ceiling on the reservation.
The Supreme Court also directed the Maharashtra government to set up a commission to gather empirical data for fixing the reservation percentage. The top court had observed that the reservation if fixed, shall not exceed the aggregate of 50 per cent of the total seats reserved for SC, ST and OBCs.
Madan said the Supreme Court had directed to hold elections in these local bodies in Maharashtra through the general category by vacating the OBC seats.