Cabinet approves withdrawal of ordinance on panchayat polls

In the light of the Supreme Court order staying the poll process on seats reserved for OBCs in the Madhya Pradesh panchayat elections, the State cabinet here on Sunday decided to withdraw the ordinance brought to annul the process of delimitation and reservation rotation set by the previous government in 2019.

The cabinet’s decision to withdraw the ordinance is likely to pave the way for cancellation of the panchayat poll process in the state. The present BJP government in MP had brought the ordinance last month to annul the process of delimitation and reservation rotation set by the previous Congress-led government in 2019.

On the basis of this ordinance, the panchayat election process was started as per the delimitation and reservation rotation of 2014.

“After the Supreme Court’s decision, the state cabinet has decided to request the governor to withdraw this ordinance,” MP Panchayat Minister Mahendra Singh Sisodiya told reporters.

He accused the opposition Congress of scuttling the process by repeatedly going to the high court and the Supreme Court over the issue of delimitation and reservation rotation.

“Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is committed to provide reservation to the Other Backward Classes (OBCs),” the minister said.

Notably, the Madhya Pradesh Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution, which stated that no panchayat polls will be held in the state without reservation for the OBCs. CM Chouhan, who is also the Leader of the House, proposed the resolution saying the state government wants every section of the society to get justice.

The Supreme Court earlier this month stayed the poll process on seats reserved for OBCs in the panchayat elections in MP and re-notified these seats for the general category. The SC ruling came after Congress leader Manmohan Nagar, president of the Bhopal district panchayat, approached the apex court pleading that the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh violated the constitutional provisions on reservation rotation and delimitation for the panchayat polls.

A day after the SC’s order, the State Election Commission (SEC) had decided to postpone the panchayat election process on the seats reserved for OBCs. Before the SC’s order, a total of 155 posts of members of district panchayats, 1,273 members of janpad panchayats, 4,058 sarpanchs, and 64,353 posts of panch were reserved for OBCs during this election process.

On December 4, the SEC had announced polling for 859 posts of district panchayats across 52 districts in MP, 6,727 posts under 313 Janpad Panchayats, Sarpanchs of 22,581 village panchayats and 3,62,754 posts of Panch members will be held in three phases – on January 6, January 28 and February 16.