The Madhya Pradesh panchayat polls were on Tuesday discontinued by the State Election Commission (SEC) after wanting legal opinion from experts. The elections were planned from January 6 to February 16. The ruling isn’t, however, unexpected, as the Shivraj Chouhan government had previously, during the winter session of the state assembly, had announced that panchayat polls won’t be held without OBC reservation. Congress had reached the Supreme Court and high court through numerous petitions disputing the Shivraj government’s move to not pursue the reservation roster and ordering polls by the 2014 delimitation of seats and not the delimitation authorized by the Kamal Nath government in 2019. The SC, pertaining to a verdict given in the matter of panchayat polls in Maharashtra, had kept up the OBC reservation altogether and ordered the Madhya Pradesh SEC to convert OBC quota seats into the general category before they contested polls. SEC, Secretary, BS Jamod announced that the entire panchayat poll process has been canceled and those candidates who had submitted security deposits with the nominations shall receive the refund.
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The ruling has been taken after seeking legal opinion from experts. One of the legal experts had submitted his statement to the commission on Monday, while opinions from two others were expected, leading to the decision being postponed till Tuesday. The state cabinet had a while before revoking the MP Panchayati Raj Amendment Bill that had implied that the panchayat polls would be discarded. BJP state head VD Sharma, Home Minister Narottam Mishra, and others had lately stressed that these polls should be discontinued without OBC reservation. On Monday, the Centre too had submitted a petition with the SC for being allowed to act as a party in the issue and the apex court will take up this issue for hearing on January 3. The Shivraj government had also moved toward the SC for rehabilitation of the OBC reservation in panchayat polls.
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