APCC, PPA protest deferral of municipal polls

ITANAGAR, Apr 30: The Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) and the People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA) have protested the State Election Commission’s (SEC) decision to defer the municipality elections, with the APCC terming the SEC’s move “irrational” and “a total breakdown and mockery of the Constitution.”
“The ground for postponing the municipality elections due to the monsoon season is fabricated and uncalled for by the Pema-led BJP government,” the APCC stated in a press release on Monday.
It sought to know how the last panchayat and municipality elections were conducted simultaneously without any untoward incidentsrelated to monsoon.
“Even remote villages safely conducted the panchayat elections. Where is the question of untoward incidents likely to occur in this municipal election? How can the state government forecast the weather when the India meteorological department broadcasted normal weather round the summer in its weather forecast bulletin?” the APCC asked.
Ridiculing the state government for its inability to conduct the local body elections, the APCC said postponing both the elections was “a concocted act of the Pema-led BJP government to escape the local self-government elections and grab power from the people of Arunachal Pradesh.”
The APCC demanded that the state government conduct the elections as per schedule, as specified in the 73rd Amendment Act and Article 243 B of the Constitution.
Claiming that the Pema-led BJP government had”already played the shameful tactic of converting the three-tier panchayati raj institution into a two-tier system” the APCC said it would not remain silent while the Constitution of the country was being played with by the state government for its vested interests, and that the APCC would continue its democratic movement.
The APCC appealed to civil societies, NGOs, community-based organisations, intellectuals and citizens of the state to cooperate with the movement of the Indian National Congress “to save the Constitution of the country for rational and democratic functioning of local self-governance.”
The PPA also termed the SEC’s decision “arbitrary, whimsical and anti-democratic.”
In a press release, PPA president Kahfa Bengia said the reason for deferring the elections was completely irrational, reflected the “arrogant attitude” of the government, and undermined the people of the state.
“It is a matter of serious concern that the administrative authorities of both these places have been coerced into giving lame excuses for deferring the elections on political grounds.
The decision is politically motivated, trampling the democratic spirit in the state,” said Bengia.
The PPA said that the monsoon season has nothing to do with the conduct of the elections since the elections are scheduled only for Pasighat and Itanagar, and both are well connected with voters residing within these municipal areas.
It asked whether the delay had anything to do with the budgetary allocations made for the conduct of the elections, the issue of 33 percent reservation for women, and such.
“The government must come clean on the total budget allocation meant for the conduct of the municipal elections and its action taken on the 33 percent reservation issue for women,” it said.
PPA secretary general Kaling Jerang said that the citizens of both these places should not keep quiet on the issue “as the dream of a smart city can only be successful through responsible municipal bodies.”
Elections to the Itanagar and Pasighat municipalities were scheduled for 29 May, but were deferred on 28 April after the deputy commissioners (who are also municipal election officers) of Itanagar and Pasighat expressed inability to conduct the elections because of monsoon disruptions.