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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, SEPTEMBER 7:
Elections to the local self-governing bodies in Kerala will be conducted in November, State Election Commission announced here on Monday.
But no dates were given (the current term of the local bodies expires on October 31); the Commission limited itself to expressing the wish that the elections be held ‘during early November.’
This seems to have brought partial closure to the controversy over delimitation of wards in 28 new municipalities and its impact on the poll schedule, which had nearly put the Commission and the State Government at loggerheads.
Election will now be conducted to the 28 newly formed municipalities, the Kannur Corporation and the Kollam Corporation, both of which have undergone the delimitation exercise recently.
The elections will be conducted over two days but in a single phase; a phased-out exercise could prove to be expensive, the sources said. Newly elected local bodies will come into existence on December 1.
Earlier in the day, an all-party meeting convened by the Commission to elicit views on probable dates for the polls failed to arrive at a consensus.
The Opposition Left Democratic Front and the BJP aired the strong view that the elections should not come in the way of commencement of the annual pilgrim season at the Sabarimala hill shrine in November.
This would require that the elections should be held in October itself, in line with the original schedule. But the ruling Congress-led United Democratic Front favoured November since that would allow enough breathing time for the delimitation exercise to get over with and the ground to be prepared.
Meanwhile, the high court of Kerala is expected to consider a case related to the elections on the in a week’s time. So the dates would have to be declared ahead of it, sources said.
The Commission is believed to have completed a detailed review of legal outcomes of the expected order. Earlier, court had ruled that the Commission must take a call on a government proposal to postpone elections by a month and bring under its ambit the 28 new municipalities and Kannur Corporation.
Elections to these bodies would not be possible before October and the government does not favour a phased-out election. It has suggested November 24 and 26 as tentative dates.
The court had also ruled that the State Election Commission can decide on how and when to conduct of the polls.