Maharashtra to write to SEC about its inability to conduct Zilla Parishad and panchayat samiti polls: Sources

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government will write to the State Election Commission (SEC) about its inability to provide manpower amidst the COVID-19 pandemic to hold the elections to five Zilla Parishads and the byelections to seats in 33 Panchayat Samities that were rendered vacant and converted to general category following the Supreme Court verdict quashing OBC quota in local bodies, sources said on Wednesday.

Maharashtra Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte read out the letter from the Central government about the precautions that need to be taken in the wake of detection of the delta plus variant of coronavirus in the state cabinet meeting held on Wednesday, they said.

Maharashtra State Election Commissioner UPS Madan had issued a statement stating that Dhule, Nandurbar, Akola, Washim and Nagpur Zilla Parishads will vote on July 19.

The counting of votes will be taken up on July 20.

By-elections to the seats rendered vacant in the 33 Panchayat Samitis falling under the jurisdiction of these five Zilla Parishads will also be held on the same day (July 19), it said.

Recently, Rural Development Minister Hasan Mushrif had said the elections to local bodies will not be held until 70 per cent of people in the state are vaccinated.

However, the State Election Commission said the election schedule was announced as per the Supreme Court’s orders.

Earlier in the day, leaders of the opposition BJP had met Maharashtra Governor B S Koshyari and demanded that the elections be postponed till reservation is restored for OBCs.