Andhra local body elections likely in a month

Hyderabad, May 22 (IANS) Local body elections in Andhra Pradesh are likely to be held within a month, state Panchayati Raj Minister K. Jana Reddy said Wednesday.

Addressing a state-level convention of the Congress party here, he asked the party cadre to gear up for the polls.

He said elections to gram panchayats and mandal parishads were likely to be held in June last week or July first week. Elections to zilla parishads, or district level bodies, are expected in August.

Jana Reddy asked party workers to ensure that the Congress wins a majority of seats in local bodies ahead of next year’s elections to the state assembly and parliament.

The minister said elections to local bodies could not be held for the last two years due to certain problems in providing reservations to various sections.

He, however, did not say when the government proposed to hold elections to urban local bodies.

The Supreme Court in February this year had asked the state government to conduct elections to urban local bodies (ULB) and Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) on the basis of the existing 60.5 percent quota to backward classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

The apex court had passed the orders on a petition by the state government challenging the decision of the state high court directing the authorities to hold the polls by fixing 50 percent reservation for various sections.

The term of ULBs ended in September 2010 and that of PRIs in July 2011. They have since then been under the rule of special officers in the absence of elected councils.

The central government had stopped the release of statutory grants to the tune of Rs.1,500 crore to PRIs due to non-conduct of elections.

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