Lucknow— As the State Election Commission declared the polling dates for the upcoming Urban Body polls in Uttar Pradesh, the BSP chief Mayawati demanded that ballot papers be used instead of EVMs in all the 17 Municipal Corporations, 19 Municipal Councils, and 439 Nagar Panchayats. She expressed her reservations about the technology and insisted on using the traditional ballot paper system for voting.
"The voting for the urban local bodies polls will be held on May 4 and 11. The counting of votes will take place on May 13," State Election Commissioner Manoj Kumar announced.
In addition to the concerns about the mode of voting, Mayawati also criticized the allocation of reservations ahead of the polls. She claimed that the reservation allocation rules had been violated and that the allocation was against the interests of SC/ST/OBC. This allocation, she noted, was reflective of the anti-dalit and anti-OBC mindset of the government. Despite her concerns, the party went ahead with the distribution of tickets, as stated to The Mooknayak by Vishwanath Pal, the State President BSP.
The Azad Samaj Party, the political wing of the Bhim Army, also registered its protest concerning the reservation allocation ahead of the polls. Speaking to The Mooknayak, Sunil Chittod, the State President of Azad Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh, stated that their national president Chandrashekhar Azad had expressed displeasure with the reservation criteria. He was of the opinion that 5% additional reservation for SC/ST should be allowed and that the OBC reservations should be increased.
The Allahabad High Court has asked the Uttar Pradesh government to submit a report from the state's Backward Classes Commission concerning the representation of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in urban local bodies. This direction was given following a writ petition filed by Vikas Agrawal in response to a government notification issued on 30th March 2023. A bench of Justice Rajan Roy and Justice Manish Kumar passed this order.
The Backward Classes Commission, constituted on 28th December 2022, had the mandate to gather empirical data on the political backwardness of the community in the context of OBC reservation in urban local body elections. It was headed by high court judge Ram Avatar Singh and had three other members, all from the OBC community. Despite the announcement of the election dates by the Election Commission earlier, the Allahabad High Court continues to seek the Uttar Pradesh government's report on the representation of OBCs in urban local bodies.
In relation to the Urban Local Body polls, the government had notified the purpose of the local body polls and had requested objections from concerned parties by April 6. However, a petitioner in the case, Vikas Agrawal, claimed that the report concerned is not in the public domain, and, as such, he is unable to file the necessary objections.
As a result, the Allahabad High Court has directed the government to submit the report before the High Court by Thursday.