Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Manipur Congress slams govt for delay in holding local bodies polls

Correspondent

Opposition Congress in Manipur on Tuesday lashed out at the BJP-led government in the state for dilly dallyting on elections to the local self-governments.
Although the tenures of almost all local bodies –urban local bodies (ULBs), including Imphal Municipal Corporation (IMC), panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) in valley districts and Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) in hill districts had ended, elections have not been held for reasons best known to the government only.
The tenures of the 24 ULBs across the valley district ended two years ago while that of IMC one-and-a-half year ago.
Elections to the ADCs were delayed ever since the tenures of the ADCs ended in May 2020. Besides, the terms of the PRIs had also expired October last year.
Addressing a news conference at Imphal Congress Bhavan today, Congress MLA Okram Surjakumar Singh (general secretary of the MPCC), demanded that the state government must clarify the reasons behind delay in holding polls till date.
He said that COVID-19 should not be the reason for delay of elections as major elections like the state Assembly and Lok Sabha were conducted without any delay because of the pandemic. He asserted the importance of the local self-government for outreach of government development initiatives and grass root local bodies were very important for smooth practice of democracy.
Despite knowing the importance, the incumbent government intentionally delayed the conduct of the polls, he alleged.
“This compelled the people to think that the present government is autocracy in nature,” he said.
Even during the COVID-19 time, the elections to Lok Sabha and state Assemblies were held across the state by strictly following the appropriate Covid behaviours and ‘why not the elections to the local bodies’, he asked.
To protect the sanctity of democracy, the pending elections should be conducted without further delay, he demanded.
Chairman of the legal department of MPCC advocate S Shyamchoron recalled an assurance given by the state government in the High Court of Manipur in response to a PIL filed by him at his personal level.
He said that the PIL was disposed of after the government assured to hold elections by November 2022. However, the state government was yet to materialize the assurance given in the court till date.
Delay in holding elections to the local self-government was nothing but suppressing democratic rights of the people, he said.
The chairman also demanded the state government should give a clarification on the delay in holding elections.

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