Political Motive Behind GMC Elections Delay?
GUWAHATI: Even after the term of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) council ended more than a year ago, there still seems to be a lot of uncertainty about the next date of elections and many are calculating that it might be a political motive to delay the elections.
“Even the Panchayat elections were similarly delayed but after some aspirants approached the court, the Panchayat elections were conducted before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls,” said a highly-placed source in the state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) committee.
Talking about the councillors not moving the court, the source expressed that maximum number of candidates in Guwahati are aspirants of BJP tickets for the GMC elections, and if they go to the court, they might not get the BJP ticket.
The source also revealed that the state BJP president and the chief minister of the ruling party had committed to some former BJP councillors of Guwahati that the GMC elections will be conducted in September 2019, but it never happened.
It seems that National Register of Citizens (NRC) was raised as an excuse and the party leaders had mentioned in a closed door meeting that after the final NRC list is out, the elections will be conducted. The councillors are irked now and smell a political conspiracy.
A former BJP councillor talking to G Plus on the condition of anonymity said, “In the area sabha and ward level, many workers are eyeing BJP tickets. If one gets the ticket, another aspirant will be unhappy; therefore there might be a strategy by the political leaders to delay the elections so that it doesn’t affect the 2021 Assembly elections vote banks.”
The councillor also said that this time there are many criteria like a councillor post aspirant can’t have more than two children, graduation must be the minimum qualification and many more such rules, which will upset many old party workers creating a chaos.
For the overall development of the city, the urban local body requires to be guided by representatives of the citizens.
Further, commissioner of GMC, Debeswar Malakar, was also unsure of the probable date of elections. He informed G Plus that the elections do not look likely to take place within the next two months.
Additionally, the State Election Commissioner, Harendra Nath Bora said that the state election commission had requested the district administration Kamrup (Metro) to undertake the process of conducting the elections but Bora alleged that the district administration was not willing to take the responsibility. The district administration is always guided by the political forces, said sources.
As per reports, the state election commission had also given the order to begin the work of correction of voter list for Kamrup (Metro) district. Further, a few important decisions were also taken in the cabinet meeting. One of the important decisions taken in the cabinet meeting included increasing the number of wards from the present 31 to 60. This will again lengthen the time of planning for the elections if the authorities are planning to conduct it soon.
Meanwhile, it is said by the former councillors that because they cannot officially participate in the GMC workflow, the garbage collection work and other GMC-related work is not being monitored by the councillors resulting in poor performance by the NGOs and GMC officials.
“Even the new NGOs are hired by the GMC officials and no suggestions were taken by the former councillors,” said a former GMC councillor.
In absence of councillors, wards reeling under various issues
In such a scenario when the tenure of the previous council ended more than a year ago, and the position of councillors remaining vacant, several places in the city are suffering from garbage and sanitation issues.
Some of these areas include Ulubari Volvo point which is consistently littered and a pungent smell emanates from the area which is home to a number of restaurants, hotels and guest houses which are mostly occupied by national and international tourists.
Residents claim that the area has acquired a permanent stink because of the dustbins which are always full of garbage. A local resident told G Plus, “This area has consistently remained littered for the past several years even after the GMC pick-up truck collects garbage from the area.”
KC Patowary Lane of Manipuri Rajbari is another locality which lies in a poor state. Residents complain that nearly two years ago, the entire area of KC Patowary Lane was broken down in order to replace the pipes for supply water passage. Since then, there hasn't been any initiative regarding the reconstruction of the roads.
The roads are filled with large potholes which add to the woes. During a rainy day, the situation becomes worse as these potholes are filled with mud and the entire area gets waterlogged, increasing the water level which then seeps into the houses of the residents nearby.
“It’s been around two months that the NGO workers did not visit our locality to collect garbage,” a resident of Ujjol Path, Jyotikuchi, Dipali Das said, adding that earlier the NGO workers used to collect garbage from the Jyotikuchi area once in four days.
Similarly a resident of Rupnagar said that the NGO workers visit their locality only once in three days and sometimes they do not show up for even a week.