Andhra local body elections to be held next month

Hyderabad, May 22 (IANS) The local body elections in Andhra Pradesh will be held in June, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy said Wednesday.

Addressing a state-level convention of the Congress here, he said panchayat elections would be held in the third or the fourth week of June while elections to urban local bodies like municipalities and corporations would be conducted in the third week of August.

The chief minister told the party cadre that the elections were delayed due to a court case and clarified that the party was not afraid of facing elections.

Kiran Reddy exuded confidence that the party would win a majority as it did in the recent elections to cooperative bodies.

Earlier, Panchayati Raj Minister K. 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.

The Supreme Court in February 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, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.

The apex court 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 tenure of ULBs ended in September 2010 and that of PRIs in July 2011. They have since then been under the control 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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