Monday, November 29, 1999

Uttar Pradesh to hold partyless local bodies polls

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Lucknow, June 18 (IANS) The Uttar Pradesh government Friday decided to hold the much-awaited local bodies elections on a partyless basis -- a move which has all the state's opposition parties up in arms.While Chief Minister Mayawati had already expressed her inclination to alter the traditional practice of holding elections on party lines, a formal decision was taken by the state cabinet Friday.'The move will enable anyone to try his luck at the hustings... He does not have to be at the mercy of any political party, thereby making the system more democratic,' the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party state chief Swami Prasad Maurya said.Opposition leaders, however, see an underhand design behind the move and have flayed the decision.Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav's son and state party chief Akhilesh Yadav has threatened to move the courts against the decision.'We are not going to take this lying down and will even knock the doors of the court to restore the role of political parties in the local bodies elections,' he told media persons here.The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress also vehemently opposed the move, warning the Mayawati government to withdraw it or else they would take to the streets.'We will stage statewide demonstrations and will not allow the Mayawati administration to get away with this mischief,' BJP leader and Lucknow MP Lalji Tandon said.Congress state chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi said the move reflected the BSP's awareness of its own weakness in the polls.'Obviously, the BSP knows that it will stand nowhere in the local bodies elections. So the only way to conceal that harsh reality would be to do away with the role of parties so that no one could know how poorly the party performs,' she claimed.

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