Hyderabad, April 15 : A delegation of Telangana State BJP leaders on Monday submitted a memorandum to Governor ESL Narasimhan to advise the State government to conduct the proposed ZPTC and MPTC elections after addressing their demands. They also requested the Governor to advise the Chief Minister to convene Assembly and Council to discuss all the issues threadbare with an objective to protect the spirit of 73rd and 74th Constitutional amendments and render justice to a large number of BCs, whose representation was being scuttled in the present arrangement.
In their representation, the BJP leaders demanded that the State government hold direct elections for MPPs and ZPs; bring about Amendments to the Panchayat Raj Act to give powers to MPTCs and ZPTCs; Restore 34% reservation for BCs; conduct elections after conclusion of general elections to enable all the stakeholders have greater focus.
The BJP leaders said the State government was planning to hold elections for 32 Zilla Parishads, 535 ZPTCs, 535 MPPs and 5,857 MPTCs and the process will begin from April 22. The KCR government’s decision to conduct Panchayat elections, while the entire nation was busy with general elections raises questions of propriety, but the larger issue was the government’s reluctance to address serious problems. They also stated that the government has reduced BC reservations in Panchayat Raj institutions from 34% to 23% citing Supreme Court order. The CM’s decision to reduce the BC quota without exploring available constitutional and legislative provisions for maintenance of 34% reservation for the BCs, casts doubts on the intent of the Government vis-à-vis justice to BCs.
Further, there was a perception amongst BCs that their representation would further come down compared to Sarpanch elections, as the application of BC reservation formula is arbitrary, erratic and fallacious. With the reduction in percentage and unscientific application of BC reservation formula, BC communities are feeling cheated as the government hasn’t made any efforts to address their legitimate grievances.
They strongly felt that the present method of indirect elections to Mandal Praja Parishads and Zilla Parishads was giving room for horse-trading and vitiating the harmonious situation in the villages. This process was violative of the spirit of 73rd and 74th Constitutional amendments. They feel that direct elections for MPPs and ZPs would be more effective.
“Under present arrangement, the MPTC and the ZPTC positions have become ornamental as they do not have any powers—financial or otherwise. Social scientists working at the grass-root level have suggested that in order to strengthen the Panchyat Raj institutions, it is important to give powers at each level and fix accountability. Therefore, the present PR act, as has been adopted by the State of Telangana, needs certain changes”, they added.
“Another important point is that even if the government concludes MPTC and ZPTC elections by May 14, it will not be able to declare results till May 23 – the day for the announcement of results of General elections. When the government was not able to complete the process to install MPPs and ZPs, why should it be hurry with the conduct of elections now, it can as well wait till the conclusion of General Elections and initiate the process afresh”.
“The proposed elections would be held on party basis and party symbols. As a national party we have been given responsibilities of campaign in the states where elections are yet to take place. The problem would be same, we guess, for the other national parties. Local Body elections in the midst of General Elections for Lok Sabha would pose hurdles in discharging our responsibilities, we being office bearers of the national party and hamper our fundamental rights. Further, it is not a good precedent to go for Local elections in the midst of General elections, especially when the objective for which the elections are being conducted would not be met- the objective of installing Mandal Praja Parishads and Zilla Parishads.
The signatories to the memorandum were Dr K. Laxman, BJP Telangana State president, Bandaru Dattatraya, former Union minister, N. Ramchander Rao, MLC, BJP Hyderabad president, G. Kishan Reddy, former MLA, Endala Laxminarayana, former MLA, Chinta Sambamurty, BJP State general secretary, G. Premendhar Reddy, BJP State general secretary, G. Manohar Reddy, BJP State general secretary, Venkatramani, BJP State vice-president, Dr S. Malla Reddy, BJP State vice-president and Y. Geetha, BJP State vice president.