The Karnataka High Court on Friday ruled that the State Election Commission has to conduct the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) elections expeditiously. The bench led by Chief Justice AS Oka said that the state election authority has to publish the election schedule within six weeks.
The bench clarified that the polls will be held for the existing 198 wards and not the proposed 243 wards. Earlier during this case, the SEC had opposed the delimitation exercise stating that the preparations for the polls for 198 wards had already begun.
It may be recalled that a joint select committee of Karnataka legislators, which was tasked with finalising the modalities regarding the restructuring of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), had added 45 more city wards in October. This development came after the state legislature had passed the Karnataka Municipal Corporations (Third Amendment) Bill, 2020 for the purpose of increasing the number of wards. The amendment had said that the number of wards could be increased, with an upper limit of 250.
In accordance to do this, the bench on Friday observed that the amendment is valid but it won’t apply for the elections as the polls were to be held before the amendment was enacted.
It may be recalled that the five-year tenure of the present BBMP Council had expired in September and the elections for the same had been deferred for the delimitation process.
Earlier on Monday, it was announced that Gram Panchayat elections in Karnataka will be held in two phases — December 22 and 27. Even that announcement came after the High Court gave the SEC three weeks time to announce the dates for gram panchayat polls.
Earlier Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar had spoken in favour of postponement of the polls at least till February-end, fearing the polls would act as “door-delivery of the virus” as door-to-door campaigning is crucial during these local body elections.