Demand for more teeth to SEC

Demand for more teeth to SEC
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Hyderabad : The State Election Commission should be given the power to take decisions regarding delimitation...

Hyderabad : The State Election Commission should be given the power to take decisions regarding delimitation and reservations for local body polls, observed former State Election Commissioner (SEC) Kaki Madhava Rao on Sunday. Karnataka has been following the same method and it is time for the State to adopt the same system taking cue from the neighbouring states to overcome interventions and irregularities by the ruling party, he said.

Forum for Electoral Reforms in Andhra Pradesh (FERA) conducted a meeting on 'Panchayat Raj in Andhra Pradesh and Democracy' at Sundarayya Vignana Kendram in Baghlingampally. Besides Madhava Rao, Congress spokesperson Dr N Tulasi Reddy, former MP S Ramachandra Reddy, CPI floor leader Gunda Mallesh, ex-MLC, CPI(M) Ch Seetaramulu, Lok Satta leader Katari Srinivas Rao, Prof. D Ravinder (OU), U Sambasiva Rao (social activist) shared their views on this occasion.

Recalling his tenure as SEC, Madhava Rao explained how he was forced to wage a legal battle against the ruling government for conducting local body polls since the administration wanted to postpone them on the reservation issue. The retired bureaucrat informed that Kerala and West Bengal were the only states that had strengthened the local bodies with adequate powers and funds.

Meanwhile, former MP S Ramachandra Reddy appealed to the government for enacting a separate legislation on 50 per cent reservation for women instead of the ordinance passed by the State government. He urged the Central and State governments to prove their commitment by strengthening the local self-governments. He was highly critical of the government for the delay in setting up of the finance commission.

Dispelling doubts, Congress spokesperson N Tulasi Reddy stated that the elections for panchayats would be held in July, while elections for Mandal Praja Parishad (MPP), Zilla Praja Parishad (ZPP) and Municipalities would be held sometime in August. Legal issues pertaining to reservations contributed to the two-year delay in local bodies polls and hence Congress party should not be faulted for it, he pointed out. CPI floor leader Gunda Mallesh said that the elections for local bodies should be held on proportional representation basis. The practice of electing ZP chairman, municipal chairman and MPP by indirect election should be given away with, he demanded.

On the other hand, ex MLC Ch Seetaramulu alleged that the development in rural areas had completely stopped for the last two years. The ruling Congress party was taking decisions according to its whims and fancies, said the left leader and added that the manner in which the recently Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACS) were held proved those allegations.

Lok Satta state president Katari Srinivas Rao observed that decentralisation of power was the only way for development of rural areas. It was very unfortunate that sarpanchs were still made to run around MLAs residences for sanction of funds or for undertaking development works in their villages. Development in rural areas was only possible when 'MLA Raj' was abolished, he added. Fera convenor Suresh Kumar presided over the programme.

lok satta

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