Panchayat election dates by next week: Poll panel

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Old 11-Dec-2015
Post Panchayat election dates by next week: Poll panel

The process of panchayat elections will pick up from where it was left off after the clause on the minimum educational qualification for candidates was challenged in the court in September.
It is likely to resume by the end of this month. The State Election Commission is likely to announce the dates by next week.
State Election Commissioner Rajeev Sharma, after the Supreme Court verdict, said the commission was ready to proceed with elections and the dates would be announced in a couple of days. “We have suggested tentative dates and sought government’s consent. Once the approval comes, we will announce the dates. The consent is necessary since elections mean a ban on the transfer of officers and officials connected with the process,” he said.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said it was a “historic day for democracy”. The criterion on the minimum educational qualifications was brought in by way of an amendment to improve the working at the grass-root level and was a progressive step.”
“The Opposition raised a hue and cry over it. The leaders even questioned our decision and attributed motives for making educational qualifications for candidates mandatory, even stating we had no knowledge of rules and procedures. We were, however, unfazed and determined to root our criminals and the illiterate. We did not go by its implication for us. We went by the belief that an educated representative can perform better than an illiterate one,” Khattar said, adding his government would support any such amendment brought by the Centre for legislators and parliamentarians.
Without naming anyone, he said that at the behest of the Opposition, some people filed a writ petition against the amendment. But after the High Court, the matter was debated in the Supreme Court and, finally, the apex court decided in the state government’s favour.
“The new Act is in the interest of rural areas, as educated people will step into the system and help in minimising administrative irregularities,” Khattar said.
Agriculture Minister OP Dhankar said the decision was a “big slap in the face of Opposition”. “Haryana will become the state that has shown the way to take good governance to the villages. It is a move that the rest of the country will follow and rid the nation of uneducated and criminal leaders,” he said.
The three-phase panchayat elections in Haryana were suspended after filing of nominations for the first phase had closed and that for the second phase had just started.
The model code of conduct had come into force from September 8, the day the elections to the panchayati raj institutions were announced by the commission. The first phase of polling was slated for October 4 followed by the second phase on October 11 and the third on October 18. As per the original schedule, the process has to be completed by October 31

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