Ahmedabad, Oct 4: Gujarat State Election Commission has announced postponement of polls to various local bodies in the state, citing law and order situation as a reason.
The announcement was made thorough a notification issued by the commission. Though the notification does not mention the exact reasons affecting the law and order situation, it is believed that the the commission is concerned about the current scene prevailing in the state due to the Patel quota agitation.
As per the notification issued by the Secretary in the state Election Commission Mahesh Joshi, the decision to hold the election to the local bodies, including municipalities and district panchayats, will be taken within three months time after examining the situation.
The notification stated that elections to six municipal corporations, 56 municipalities, 230 taluka panchayats and 31 district panchayats were expected to be held between October and November this year as the term of these bodies is expiring in the period.
"Keeping in mind the necessity to hold elections in free, fair and peaceful environment, the commission has evaluated the present law and order situation across the state. After such evaluation, we have decided not to hold elections at present," the release stated.
"The commission will take a decision to hold elections in next three months after re-examining the situation in the state," the notification, signed by Joshi, said.
The announcement came hours after the Gujarat Governor O P Kohli issued an ordinance to bring uniformity in the law about the situations where local body elections are deferred.
Through the ordinance, the Gujarat government also empowered itself to take a decision to delay the polls if there is an apprehension that the voters would not be able to use the franchise freely and fairly.
The Supreme Court has recently stayed the elections to municipalities and municipal corporations, following a plea by advocate Anirudh Sharma.
Since the ban was not applicable on Panchayati Raj institutions, Gujarat Congress unit had recently met the state Election Commissioner Varesh Sinha and requested him to expedite the process to hold elections in district panchayats and taluka panchayats across the state.
Congress has been alleging that the BJP-led Gujarat government is not interested in holding the elections at this juncture due to the situation in the state created by the Patel quota stir.