Maharashtra Gram Panchayat elections postponed due to COVID-19
The Election Commission has directed the state government to appoint a suitable administrator in these gram panchayats.
The Maharashtra Gram Panchayat elections have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement was made by the Maharashtra Rural Development Minister Hasan Mushrif.
The state rural development minister stated that a request was made to the State Election Commission by the State Government to postpone the elections to the 12,668 Gram Panchayats that were scheduled between July-December 2020 in the view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Maharashtra Gram Panchayat elections: Key Highlights
• The elections were scheduled for all gram panchayats whose tenure is supposed to end between June and December 2020.
• The state government, with its rising COVID-19 cases, conveyed its inability to hold elections in the present situation to the state election commission.
• The State Election Commission has informed the state that the existing executive of the gram panchayats, whose term is ending. will not continue in the same manner.
• The Election Commission further directed the state government to appoint a suitable administrator in these gram panchayats.
• This indicates that the gram panchayats, whose five-year terms are expiring, will not get a six-month extension or given the role of a caretaker as they were demanding.
• The state election commission will be reviewing the situation from time to time in consultation with the state government.
Who is an administrator?
The administrator is an official, who is selected by the government, to monitor the works of gram panchayats.
Why have Maharashtra Gram Panchayat elections been postponed?
The Maharashtra Gram Panchayat elections have been postponed to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 virus. If the elections are held, many people will gather in public places through staff training, community use of voting machines, campaign crowds, meetings and rallies. According to state rural development minister Hasan Mushrif, such crowds can be dangerous in the state’s present situation.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi had proposed that these gram panchayats should have an administrator till fresh elections take place. The state government was against giving the gram panchayats an extension for six months.