**Bhubaneswar: ** While the term of 93 urban local bodies (ULBs) is expiring in 2018-19 and the municipal elections are due, the State Government is yet to effect the statutory delimitation of wards and reservation of seats as sought by the State Election Commission within its set deadline.
As the State Government has sought further time for the necessary compliance and some of the ULBs are due for polls in April, uncertainty looms large over the fate sparking speculations over allegedly deliberate dilly-dallying by the BJD-led Government in Odisha.
State Election Commission (SEC) secretary R.N. Sahoo on Thursday informed media, “Term of 93 urban local bodies (ULBs) is going to end in 2018-19. Hence, we had written to the Housing & Urban Development Department to finish up the delimitation of wards and reservation of seats within January 31.”
“Housing & Urban Development Department has meanwhile effected an amendment follwing which the previous provision for two-term reservation has been amended to one-term reservation. As they are unable to comply with the SEC’s order within the January 31 deadline, the Department has requested us to take further decision and allow time.”
In his reactions, Housing & Urban Development Minister Niranjan Pujari said, “That is a process of election. Whatever is required, we’re proceeding on it accordingly.”
On the contrary coming down heavily on the BJD-led State Government, senior Congress leader and former minister Suresh Chandra Routray said, “An inefficient government is running in our State. No activities in the municipalities and NACs. Hence, such request being made to the State Election Commission is a pretext to delay the municipal polls. By doing so, the State Government will take over the municipalities and municipal corporations and resort to eyewash as it has taken decision of electrifying all rural houses across Odisha by Gandhi Jayanti, all houses to be supplied with drinking water, etc.”
“Naveen Babu is extremely nervous now. He is lacking the strength to face any election. Both Prasad Harichandan and Dharmendra Pradhan are intensifying their political activities and Naveen Babu has been sandwiched between them,” the veteran politician slammed.