The Maharashtra State Election Commission on Friday said polls to local bodies from other backward class reserved constituencies, which were scheduled on December 21, will now be held on January 18 and these seats will be converted as general category ones, an announcement coming two days after a Supreme Court ruling.
State election commissioner U P S Madan said in a statement that elections to general, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe seats in these local bodies will be held as per schedule on December 21.
The elections to seats earlier reserved for OBC candidates will now be held in open category and voting in these constituencies will take place on January 18 and counting of ballots on January 19, he said.
The announcement comes two days after the Supreme Court directed the Maharashtra SEC to notify 27 per cent seats in the local bodies, which were reserved for the OBCs, as general category so that the poll process can be taken forward.
The apex court had on December 6 stayed till further orders the local body elections in Maharashtra on seats reserved for the OBCs and had made it clear that the poll process for the other seats would continue.
Elections to 106 nagar panchayats, Bhandara-Gondia zilla parishad and 15 panchayat samities under its jurisdiction were to be held on December 21.
Similarly, by-elections to four seats in four municipal corporations, 7,130 vacant seats in 4,554 gram panchayats will also be held on December 21.
Madan said as per the Supreme Court order of December 15, the elections in OBC reserved seats have been rescheduled on January 18 in open category.
Some of the seats which have been 'de-reserved' will be earmarked for women from general category through a lottery system, he said.
Madan said 23 of the 105 seats in Bhandara-Gondia zilla parishad, which were earlier OBC seats, will now be converted into general constituencies.
Also, 45 of the 210 seats in the 15 panchayat samitis in the district were OBC seats.
Similarly, 344 of the 1,802 seats in 106 nagar panchayats were reserved for OBCs and one of the 4 seats in municipal corporations where bypolls are scheduled was also earmarked for backward class candidates.
All these seats will now be converted into general category constituencies.
The state government wanted the SEC to stay all local body polls till the OBC political quota was restored.
However, the apex court, while hearing an application filed by Maharashtra government seeking modification of the December 6 order, had directed the SEC to issue fresh notification for the 27 per cent OBC seats within a week.
In March this year, the apex court had said that reservation in favour of OBCs in local bodies in Maharashtra cannot exceed an aggregate of 50 per cent of the total seats reserved for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs taken together.