Mayawati indicates direct elections for mayors to stay

March 10th, 2011 - 8:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Lucknow, March 10 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati Thursday appeared to have succumbed to the mounting opposition pressure against her move to change the existing system of direct election of mayors to an indirect one.

Mayawati gave this indication at a press conference here, when she referred to the bill for the purpose pending with Governor B.L. Joshi after being passed by the state assembly by voice vote, despite the opposition’s protests.

Even as she denied having discussed the issue with the governor, on whom she had called last week, her remarks suggested that she had very little hope of the bill receiving the governor’s assent.

“I did not raise this issue during my courtesy call on the governor, yet I can see that different opposition parties were trying to exert all kinds of pressure on him to stall the bill. In case the bill actually gets stalled, then we will go ahead with the elections in the usual manner,” she said.

Asked if in that case too, her party would contest the election, she shot back: “Of course, and that too with all our preparation.”

Justifying the bill, Mayawati said: “I would like to point out that our plan to switch from the existing system of direct elections to an indirect one where members of municipal bodies would elect their chiefs was guided by past practice as well as the prevailing practice in several other states.”

“I wonder why parties like Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were opposed to the move when such a practice was being followed in several states ruled by these two parties,” she said.

She noted that indirect mayoral election was in vogue in the state for decades, before the present direct election system was adopted in 1994 and sought to justify the reversal to the old system, saying that past experience and studies had shown that the coordination between municipal body members and mayors was far better under the indirect election regime as compared to the directly elected ones.

“Effective coordination between the municipal body heads and its members, would ensure smoother and more effective execution of various development schemes and projects,” she added.

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