Election Commission Defers Civic Body, Panchayat Polls in MP by 3 Months over Covid-19 Scare

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As the Covid-19 scare continues unabated, the Madhya Pradesh State Election Commission (MPSEC) on Saturday announced that it would defer the impending civic body and panchayat elections in the state by three months.

The civic body polls and three tier panchayat polls will now be held in the month of February, an order from the MPSEC said.

The order stated that a letter forwarded to it by the state Chief Secretary on the Covid-19 situation and in light of the fact that the Centre has declared the virus outbreak a pandemic, the upcoming polls stand deferred. The polls were to be organised between December and January.

The term of 307 out of 407 civic bodies expired on September 25, while eight others will complete their terms in January and February 2021, the commission’s order read. It further added that the tenures of panchs, sarpanchs, janpad members and zila panchayat members had expired in March 2020.

The commission also pointed out that petitions have been filed against it in the principal bench Jabalpur, Indore and Gwalior benches of the High Court.

The Gwalior bench has also imposed separate penalties of Rs 50,000 each on the state government, department of Urban Administration and Development and the commission over the fact that elections for Nagar Parishad Narwar in Shivpuri have not been held yet.

The commission also instructed officers to update it on the improvement in the Covid-19 situation, if any.