Hyderabad, April 1: The counting of votes polled in Sunday's municipal elections in Andhra Pradesh will be taken up on April 9 as the state high court on Tuesday rejected a petition seeking postponement of the process till the general elections.
The court did not agree with the argument of the petitioner that counting of votes polled in municipal elections may influence the voting in assembly and Lok Sabha elections.As per the schedule announced by the state election commission, the counting of votes was to be taken up on April 2 but the high court has now postponed it till April 9.
The political parties had opposed declaration of municipal results before the general elections but the state election commission had declined to change the schedule.
The petitioner's lawyer, however, said with the high court's verdict, they now have the chance to move the Supreme Court, which last week had directed the election commission not to declare the results of rural local bodies before May 7.
Over 73 percent polling was recorded Sunday in the elections to 146 municipalities and 10 municipal corporations in the state.
In what is being described as the semifinal before the general elections, 73.16 percent of 95 lakh voters cast their votes to elect candidates for 3,990 wards in 146 municipalities, and 2,507 divisions in 10 municipal corporations.
There are 17,864 contestants in the fray in the municipalities and another 3,343 candidates are testing their fortunes in the corporations.
The Supreme Court on March 27 had directed state election commission not to declare the results of rural local body elections before May 7.
Hearing a petition challenging the election commission's decision to announce the results of panchayat raj elections on April 13, the court asked the election authorities to declare the results after May 7.
The petitioner had argued that the results could impact the simultaneous elections to state assembly and Lok Sabha scheduled in two phases on April 30 and May 7.
The elections to 1,096 Zilla Parishad Territorial Constituencies (ZPTCs) and 16,589 Mandal Parishad Territorial Constituencies (MPTCs) are scheduled on April 6 and 11.
The state election commission had to announce schedules for elections to rural and urban local bodies on the directions of the Supreme Court and the state high court respectively.The local body polls were announced even as the Election Commission declared the dates for elections to state assembly and the Lok Sabha.