MPCC questions delay in local body, ADC polls

By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Jan 3: The Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) has questioned the State Government’s failure to hold local body elections in the valley and Autonomous District Council elections in the hills even though these elections are long overdue.
Speaking to media persons at the MPCC office, BT Road here today, Congress MLA Surjakumar Okram pointed out the people of India have been taking pride in the fact that India is the biggest democracy in the world.
It has been widely accepted that democracy should reach the grassroots level but the elections to many local bodies including urban local bodies, Panchayati Raj institutions and ADCs have not been held in Manipur even though the previous terms of these elected bodies expired a long time back, Surjakumar said.
The previous term of the 26 Municipal Councils expired over two years back and a notification was issued recently whereby a number of administrators were appointed.
This move of the State Government gave an impression that the Government has no intention to hold elections to these local bodies any time soon. That was why, the All Manipur Urban Local Bodies Coordination Committee came out in the media and urged the Government to hold the long overdue elections at the earliest, said the MLA.
The committee has even pointed out that the Government is moving towards dictatorship by keeping the urban local body elections at bay for a protracted period.
The committee has already made it clear that they  would launch different modes of agitation if the overdue elections are not held at the earliest, Surjakumar noted.
The State Government may cite Covid pandemic for the delay in holding local body elections but such elections were held in Uttar Pradesh as well as Maharashtra in the midst of the pandemic by following the Covid protocol, the Congress MLA asserted.
After a long gap, the ADC election was held in 2015 and its term expired in June 2020. However, no fresh election has been held till date, he said.
The Government can certainly hold the ADC election, if it is determined, he said and appealed to the State Government to hold elections to grassroots local bodies at the earliest.
He also pointed out that the Central Government under the leadership of late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi introduced 30 per cent reservation for women in local bodies with the primary objectives of strengthening democracy and empowering women in the country.
MPCC spokesman and legal department chairman Advocate Sanoujam Shyamcharan said that every Indian is proud of the three-tier Indian democratic set-up which comprises Central Government, State Government and local bodies.
It is local bodies which take democracy to the grassroots level, Shyamcharan said.
“Taking serious note of the denial of democracy and democratic rights to the people at grassroots level, I filed a PIL at the High Court of Manipur”, he said.
After the PIL was studied five times, the Government submitted its response to the High Court on August 7, 2022 saying that the State Cabinet had adopted a decision to hold elections to local bodies including the Imphal Municipal Corporation in the last week of November last year.
Subsequent upon the Government’s response the PIL was disposed but no sign of holding local body elections is evident till date, Advocate Shyamcharan remarked.
All the care-takers of the expired local bodies have been removed and in their place bureaucrat officers like MAHUD Director, Under Secretaries have been appointed as administrators of the local bodies. But these bureaucratic officers have little connection with the masses at the grassroots level, he pointed out.