UP bans political parties from contesting urban civic polls

UP bans political parties from contesting urban civic polls

New Delhi: The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government in Uttar Pradesh on Friday cleared a Bill banning political parties from contesting in urban local bodies.

The move, ostensibly aimed at de-politicizing the electoral process in civic polls, has been opposed by rival parties saying it would only help the BSP, led by chief minister Mayawati, manipulate results.

Urban local bodies elections in Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous state, are due next year.

The Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress, the main opposition parties in the state, said the legislation violated the Constitution and that they would fight it both legally and politically. The Constitution empowers state governments to determine electoral rules for local governments such as corporations, municipalities and panchayats.

All major political parties in Uttar Pradesh had filed objections to the notification on the Bill, but the state government has overruled them.

“We will certainly go to court against the legislation. The Mayawati government is trying to take away the rights of the people to elect the heads of the municipalities and corporations," said Ram Gopal Yadav, national general secretary of the SP.

Congress spokesman Akhilesh Pratap Singh said the Bill will be damaging for his party, “which has been performing better in urban areas... We will fight it politically too".

Uttar Pradesh has 12 corporations, 191 nagar parishads (town municipalities) and 414 nagar panchayats (rural municipalities).