'Postpone polls, voters hit with flood, drought'
Vivek Chavan of Bhartiya Dalit Cobra has filed a PIL in the high court claiming that most voters were reeling under floods and drought
Pune: A Pune-based lawyer has moved a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court urging that the forthcoming Maharashtra State Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) elections be postponed as around 40 per cent of the voters in the state have been affected by flood and drought.
Social activist Vivek Sharavan Chavan alias Bhai Vivek Chavan, 49, a resident of Lohegoan, moved the petition through his lawyer Tosif Chand Shaikh on Friday against the State of Maharashtra, Election Commission of India and the Maharashtra State Election Commission.
Chavan heads the Bhartiya Dalit Cobra, a public movement that fights for social justice through constitutional means. "After the termination of the term of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly 2014, the President’s rule must be imposed in the state and under his rule, relief and rehabilitation of the flood and drought-affected people should be undertaken by the administration," Chavan told mid-day.
The state, he said, has been reeling under physical and financial hardship. "The government had declared a drought in around 155 talukas in October 2018. Nearly 11,500 of the 40,000 villages face water scarcity due to a combination of less than normal rainfall and consequent exploitation of groundwater, a government report had pointed out," Chavan said. Besides, the government also declared a drought-like situation in 180 tehsils. More than 500 villages in Marathwada are dependent on water tankers for drinking water needs.
Chavan said that if the gram panchayat elections can be postponed over floods and drought, "why not the Vidhan Sabha election?" He said that ignoring these affected voters was a "violation of the fundamental right of the citizen enshrined under the Constitution of India."
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