Civic Body Polls In Odisha Likely In June Next Year

Bhubaneswar: The Urban Local Body (ULB) polls in Odisha is most likely to be held in June next year as the state government has decided to bring an amendment in the Orissa Municipal (Amendment) Act, 1994, during the ensuing winter session of the State Assembly, sources in the Housing and Urban Development Department said.

According to the secretary of the State Election Commission (SEC) Rabindra Nath Sahu, the civic body polls will be held after the state government completes the process for delimitation of the wards and reservation of seats for the ULBs.

“The delimitation of the wards and reservation of seats is determined by the state government while the preparation of the electoral roll and the conduct of polls is the responsibility of the SEC. Once the state government completes the two aforesaid tasks, the civic body polls will be held within four months,” he added.

Notably, the Orissa High Court had asked the state government not to exceed 50 per cent total reservation of seats for the scheduled castes (SC), scheduled tribes (ST) and other backward classes (OBC) in the non-scheduled areas for the urban local body (ULB)polls. Besides it had also told the state government to limit the reservation of seats for OBCs to not more than 11 per cent as against 27 per cent earlier.

The court, while pronouncing the order in a case related to reservation of seats for Nuapada civic body, had also asked the state government not to raise the cap.

Challenging the order, the state government in September 2018 had moved the Supreme Court which rejected its appeal and directed it to abide by the directive of the High Court.

A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the High Court alleging that the reservation of seats was more than 50 per cent during the panchayat polls in 2012, ULB polls in 2013 and panchayat polls in 2017, which was a gross violation of the order of the apex court in 2010.

Of 114 ULBs in Odisha, 5 are categorized as Municipal Corporations, 48 as Municipalities (48) and 61 as Notified Area Councils.

While the tenure of 65 ULBs and Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BeMC) expired since September 29, 2018, the representatives of the remaining 48 ULBs including the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation BMC), Rourkela Municipal Corporation (RMC) and Sambalpur Municipal Corporation (SMC) completed their tenure by February 13, 2019.

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