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Legislature clears bill on sarpanch poll

THE ASIAN AGE. | SONU SHRIVASTAVA
Published : Feb 26, 2020, 7:13 am IST
Updated : Feb 26, 2020, 7:13 am IST

The House passed the bill through the voice vote amid the ruckus by the BJP legislators, who were demanding a blanket loan waiver.

Rural development minister Hasan Mushrif and Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari
 Rural development minister Hasan Mushrif and Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari

Mumbai: The Maharashtra state legislature has passed a bill pertaining to the indirect election of Sarpanch (village head) on Tuesday. The move will pave the way for the election of Sarpanch by members of the gram panchayat.

The State Legislative Assembly passed the amendment in Maharashtra Village Panchayat Act amid a ruckus created by the opposition BJP members over the farmers’ issue. Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had rejected an ordinance pertaining to the same last week. The passing of this Act led to a reversal of the previous BJP-led government decision.

Almost two-and-half years ago, Devendra Fadnavis-led government amended the Maharashtra Gram Panchayat Act of 1958 for direct election of village sarpanch (head of the Gram Panchayat or a village body comprising elected representatives) from among the people. The move was to expand the BJP’s footprint in the rural parts of the state. Before 2017, the village sarpanches were elected from among elected representatives who only could vote in the election.

Rural development minister Hasan Mushrif tabled the Maharashtra Village Panchayat (Amendment) Bill 2020 in Lower House. Mr Mushrif said the provisions of the current legislation were modified to ensure smooth functioning of panchayats.

The House passed the bill through the voice vote amid the ruckus by the BJP legislators, who were demanding a blanket loan waiver. The Legislative Council amid uproar passed the bill.

According to the statement of objects and reasons of the Bill, as per the existing provisions of the Maharashtra Village Panchayats Act, the Sarpanch of a Panchayat is directly elected by the voters of the village at the general election of the Village Panchayats. After taking the review of the present position and to ensure the smooth functioning of the Village Panchayat, the state government considers it expedient to suitably modify the provisions of the said Act.

BJP members were seen insisting on holding a special discussion on farmers’ issues during proceedings.

They also tried to move an adjournment motion, which was rejected by the council Chairman Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar. Mr Nimbalkar then called for tabling of the bill and read out the recommended amendments.

Tags: sarpanch polls, bhagat singh koshyari
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