Govt for VP polls after rains, sends proposal to SEC

THE GOAN NETWORK | MAY 26, 2022, 12:44 AM IST

The State government has proposed that the panchayat elections, due to be held in June, be deferred by three months due to the impending monsoon and also to permit the government to complete the process of reservation of wards for OBCs as per the ‘triple test’ guideline laid down by the Supreme Court.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said the government has sent the file to the State Election Commission (SEC) with the proposal which also includes appointing administrators for the 180-odd village bodies in the interim period between the date their terms expire and the elections are eventually held.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of an official function in the capital, Sawant said the final decision as to the timing of the polls will be taken by the SEC.

The conduct of the panchayat elections in Goa, which should have ordinarily been held in June so that the representatives so elected take charge before the term of the current bodies expires in June-end, has been hanging fire for over a month.

Soon after taking charge, the Pramod Sawant-led government had announced that the polls will be held on schedule.

Panchayat Minister Mauvin Godinho, who incidentally also held the panchayat portfolio in the previous term, had claimed that all preparations including the delimitation of the wards were on schedule.

However, Godinho and the government had made multiple flip-flops on the issue and eventually latched on to a Supreme Court of India judgement related to reservation of wards for OBCs to tweak its stand in favour of polls after the monsoon.

The Apex Court ruled in the case of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh that no reservations for OBCs can be finalised without adhering to the following triple test:

A dedicated Commission to conduct rigorous empirical inquiry into the nature and implications of the backwardness qua local bodies, within the State; Recommendations by the Commission on number of seats to be reserved for OBCs local body wise; Ensuring seats reserved for SCs, STs and OBCs do not exceed 50 per cent, cumulatively.

Meanwhile, Sawant said, his government has now asked the State’s OBC Commission to submit its report for the reservation of panchayat wards on completing all formalities as per the Supreme Court guidelines. 

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