More Chhattisgarh municipality chiefs fear recall

June 18th, 2008 - 7:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Raipur, June 18 (IANS) Municipal body chiefs in Chhattisgarh, especially who have not been living up to voters’ expectations, are a worried lot after three of them were forced to step down, recalled by voters. The recalls have kicked off a debate in political circles as performances of other municipal heads are now under scrutiny.

Political analysts say about 60-70 percent municipal chiefs face accusations of being “careless towards development and infrastructure projects”.

Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) state president Vishnudeo Sai said: “The recalls reflect voters’ awareness. BJP respects their feelings. It’s a lesson for those who don’t carry out their development tasks honestly.”

Congress leader and state’s former chief minister Ajit Jogi said: “We have to think many times to exercise direct democracy because our society is quite different from Switzerland where direct democracy is at work with great success.”

Two of the three municipal chiefs recalled are from the Congress.

“We must think about direct democracy such as `recall’ because even far advanced democratic countries have not so far tried it,” Jogi added.

In the recall poll held Sunday - the results were announced late Tuesday - presidents of Gundardehi and Nawagarh nagar panchayats in Durg district and Rajpur in Surguja district lost their posts as majority of voters decided to recall them.

Fresh elections to elect new presidents will be held within six months. Gunderdehi nagar panchayat chairman Bharti Sonkar (Congress), Nawagarh nagar panchayat chairman Sitaram Ganekar (Independent) and Rajpur Nagar panchayat chairman Khorel Khalko (Congress) failed to bag 50 percent votes and lost their seats.

Elections for recall were held by the state election commission under Chhattisgarh Nagar Palika Act in the wake of charges of under-performance against the three.

Voters of the municipalities had only two symbols on their ballot papers - an empty chair and an occupied one - to decide the fate of the chiefs.

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