Gujarat local body polls on November 22, 29

Gandhinagar: Polling for as many as 323 local self-government bodies will be held in Gujarat on November 22 and 29, the State Election Commission announced on Friday.

This follows a rap on the poll panel's knuckles by the Gujarat High Court, which had described as unconstitutional the move to put off the electoral process.

The first phase of polling will be held for six of eight city municipal corporations on November 22. The votes will be counted on November 26, State Election Commissioner Varesh Sinha told reporters here.

The elections will be held for the municipal corporations of Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar, all of which are controlled by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Two newly formed municipal corporations of Gandhinagar and Junagadh are also with the BJP. While there are over six months left for the elected board of Gandhinagar to expire, Junagadh still has four years before its term expires.

As many as 230 taluka (tehsil) panchayats, 56 nagarpalikas (municipalities) and 31 district panchayats go to the polls on November 29 and the counting of votes will take place on December 2.

At present, the BJP controls 150 taluka panchayats, 42 municipalities and 30 district panchayats, excluding that of Tapi in south Gujarat which is with the Congress.

The Gujarat High Court had on October 20 directed the State Election Commission to start the electoral exercise, rejecting an ordinance seeking to postpone the elections citing law and order concerns in the wake of protests by Patel community leader Hardik Patel.

The court had frustrated the government’s attempt to appoint administrators on the local bodies by putting off the elections and observed that there was no such legal provision.

The high court had wondered why elections could not be held to local bodies when polling could be successfully conducted in strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir.

The high court order followed two petitions, including one by Congress legislator Shaktisinh Gohil, challenging the postponement of the elections.

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