India

PM reminds Puducherry it is yet to hold local body polls


Union home ministry had been urging polls on the Puducherry administration to hold polls for the last 10 years but it hasn’t happened.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday gave a very public nudge to the Puducherry administration for not facilitating local body polls in the Union Territory, even as he commended the successful conclusion of the District Development Council polls in Jammu and Kashmir.

He made the point during his address at the time of launching a government health insurance scheme, the PMJAY-SEYHAT, for Jammu and Kashmir.

“Jammu and Kashmir has proven its confidence and faith in democracy but on the other hand, I want to attract the attention of the country to another fact — despite a Supreme Court order, local body polls haven’t been held in Puducherry,” he said.

The nudge was also a response to Congress MP Rahul Gandhi’s statement a couple of days ago that there was “no democracy” left in India. Mr. Modi’s pointing out of Congress-ruled Puducherry’s reluctance to hold local polls, whereas Centrally-ruled Jammu and Kashmir had done so, was aimed at the Congress’ own patchy record.

The Supreme Court had ordered in 2018 that local body polls be held in Puducherry, where local body polls hadn’t been held since 2006. The terms of those local bodies came to an end in 2011.

The Union Home Ministry has been urging the Puducherry administration to hold local body polls for the last 10 years but it hasn’t happened. The appointment of Roy Thomas as Election Commissioner there has raised hopes of polls soon. In such a situation, this very public nudge to the Puducherry administration by the PM is significant.

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