Just a day after the letters by the Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and the BJP Gujarat Chief CR Paatil, asking for the elections for the Gandhinagar local body to be stayed, the state election commissioner Sanjay Prasad decided to hold off the scheduled Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation (GMC) elections slated for April 18.
"Considering the representations by various parties, organisations and looking at the present situation of Corona havoc, the SEC considers it inappropriate to hold the elections. A lot of people from the political parties and also the government will be exposed to the virus if the elections are carried out. The SEC doesn't see it fit to undermine the health of so many people during the long process of the elections," Sanjay Prasad observed in his order on Saturday.
"The present situation in Gujarat and Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation is abnormal and exceptional. The SEC believes that the elections should be held in a free, fair, just, and fearless manner. The voters won't be able to vote in a free and fearless manner in the present circumstances. Also, the polling will be a lot less in these times. By the powers conferred to the SEC under rule 48 of the Election Rules, 1994 of the Mumbai Providential Corporation Act, we are postponing the scheduled elections till the situation improves," Prasad said in the order.
The SEC will hold a review of the pandemic situation, in consultation with health authorities, after some time to decide on the fate of the local body elections.
A total of seven representations were made by the political parties and non-governmental organisations. The SEC also took cognizance of the letters written to the Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court by the Congress president Amit Chavda and Gyasuddin Sheikh.
A day prior to the announcement by the SEC on March 19, the Gandhinagar Shaher Vasahat Mahamandal, a federation of capital residents had also requested the SEC to postpone the elections.
The Congress party, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP), and the Gujarat Garvi Party had asked the SEC to withhold the GMC elections.