Panchayat by-elections in Rajasthan postponed

The Rajasthan State Election Commission has postponed by-elections to 11 panchayat samitis and one zila parishad scheduled for October 27, while citing “practical difficulties” in holding the polls even after the nominations were filed by the candidates. The political parties were looking forward to the bypolls which were very close to the December 7 State Assembly elections. As many as 11 District Collectors, who are also the District Returning Officers, had earlier written to the government with the request to postpone the panchayat bypolls because of the upcoming Assembly elections. They had apprised the State Election Commission of their difficulties and said they were preoccupied with the arrangements for the Assembly polls. Poll process The State Election Commission had already initiated the poll process by issuing the notification on October 12, while the nominations began on October 15. A holiday was also declared in the areas of bypolls on polling day and dry days were announced on the polling and counting days. Chief Election Officer Chandrashekhar Mutha said n Tuesday that the process for by-elections had been stayed till further orders and instructions issued to the officers concerned to keep the related documents in the sealed covers with proper security arrangements. “Both the polling and counting of votes have been postponed after careful consideration of the letters received from the District Returning Officers,” he said. Interestingly, the Rajasthan High Court had recently dismissed a writ petition filed by an activist, Bhagwat Gaur, seeking postponement of the panchayat bypolls with the contention that they would amount to an “opinion poll” which could influence the voters just before the Assembly elections. On this ground, the bypolls could later be even countermanded, he had argued. The by-elections were to be held for choosing a member of the Alwar Zila Parishad and the members of panchayat samitis of Mandalgarh (Bhilwara), Sujangarh and Bidasar (Churu), Lawan (Dausa), Alsisar (Jhunjhunu), Nadoti (Karauli), Ladpura (Kota), Merta (Nagaur), Jaitaran (Pali), Piprali (Sikar) and Bari (Dholpur).

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