AAP not to contest Bengaluru civic body polls

Bengaluru, Aug 6 (IANS) The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Thursday said it would not contest the August 22 elections to the Bengaluru civic corporation, as the party feared the state government might dissolve the local body, after the decision to split it for administering the city better.

“We consider the ensuing elections to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) a farce as the state government has amended the Karnataka Municipalities Act for bifurcating or trifurcating the corporation,” AAP state convener Siddharth Sharma told reporters here on Thursday.

Though the state legislature recently passed the amendment bill, Governor Vajubhai R. Vala referred it to the president for assent after the opposition parties (Bharatiya Janata Party and Janata Dal-Secular) opposed it on constitutional grounds.

“The governor sent the bill to the president as it is not in conformity with the constitutional provisions (Article 243Q), which provides that the municipality is a permanent body like parliament and cannot be made to cease to exist by law except by way of a constitutional amendment,” a state official told IANS here.

The AAP’s state unit that contested all 28 parliamentary constituencies in the 2014 general elections but failed to win any, is apprehensive on the tenure of the new civic body, which has a five-year term, in view of the amendment.

“In case the president gives assent to the amendment bill and the state government splits the BBMP, it will hold elections again to the bifurcated or trifurcated civic bodies, wasting the tax-payers’ money and its scarce resources,” the AAP leader asserted.

The party is also cut up with the ruling Congress for deferring the civic polls twice by going to the Supreme Court.

The state government on April 18 superseded the previous BJP-led BBMP before its five-year term was to lapse on April 22.

“Though we are not contesting in the civic polls, our volunteers are conducting jana sabhas (people’s councils) and interacting with citizens for creating awareness on their rights to demand basic facilities from elected bodies and its members,” Siddharth Sharma asserted.

Elections to the 198 wards of the civic body were notified on August 3. The last date for filing nominations is August 10, scrutiny of nominations will take place on August 11, candidatures can be withdrawn till August 13 and counting will take place on August 25.

The century-old BBMP was expanded in 2007 by including seven city municipal councils and one town municipal council and 111 surrounding villages to increase the civic wards to 198 from earlier 100.

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