SMC Mayor Election: NC files petition, calls it violation of MCC

Wajahat Shabir. Updated: 11/21/2020 11:01:32 AM Front Page

Srinagar: A day after the officials announced elections dates for the vacant seat of Mayor Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (NC) has filed a petition calling it a violation of Model Code of Conduct (MCC).
The announcement of elections for Mayor SMC comes at a time when a process on electing councilors on four vacant seats is going. As per the reports, the election for four vacant councilors is to be held on 28th November and 1st December.
While the election for Mayor SMC which was scheduled to be held in December, will now take place on November 25 with National Conference calling it a violation of MCC and against the Jammu and Kashmir Municipal Corporation Act, 2000.
Former Mayor SMC Junaid Azim Matto had failed to show a majority in a no-confidence motion filed against him by Councilors in the month of June, following which the elections which were to be held in July. However, amid Covid-19 pandemic, the elections were deferred to three months.
While as in the month of September, the officials siting Covid-19 pandemic again deferred the election for three months. While, SMC in a notification yesterday had announced that elections for the vacant seat of SMC Mayor, which be held on November 25, instead of December.
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah wrote on Twitter, “The process to fill vacant seats in the Srinagar Municipal Corporation is ongoing with nominations having been filed. While the model code of conduct is in place the administration wants the election of the mayor to go ahead. A petition has filed to stop this violation of the MCC”.
A senior leader from the National Conference said that the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference’s contesting candidates have challenged the issuance of notification for the conduct of elections to the post of Mayor by Secretary SMC. As it is a brazen violation of MCC as bye-elections to 4 vacant SMC seats are still underway”.
The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference has filed the petition to Chief Electoral Officer Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory Hridesh Kumar and District Magistrate Srinagar Shahid Iqbal Choudhary.
Meanwhile, an official in the SMC told TNN on anonymity that yes it is a violation of Model Code of Conduct as elections on four vacant councilor seats are to be held next week and if elections of Mayor SMC are held, they won’t be able to cast their votes.
He added, “The authorities here have violated constitutional rights of Municipal Act, 2000 and what was the point in going against the earlier government orders of conducting the elections, which were to be held in December.”
While as the petition which lies with The News Now reads, “Despite the Model Code of Conduct is in force, the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) being the Urban Local Body (ULB) whose bye-elections are underway, have in brazen violation of the Model Code of Conduct issued the notification for the conduct of election for Mayor SMC post on November 25.
It added, “It is brought to your attention that the election to the post of Mayor is an indirect election under the charter of the Municipal Corporation Act, 2000 and the rules as framed there under and entails the meeting of the elected councilors to vote for the candidates who are running for the post of Mayor”.
“The present indirect election of Mayor that is slated to the held on 25.11.2020 will not only entail the meeting of councilors and the Corporation but the outcome of the election, if not deferred, would unfairly prejudice the contesting candidates and the contesting candidates seen in close proximity to the winning mayoral candidate would get an unfair advantage thereby altering the level playing field as available to the contesting candidates”.

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