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Kerala: Local body elections to be held in 3 phases, counting of votes on December 16

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Kerala State Election Commission (SEC) has decided to conduct local body elections in the state in December of this year. Originally due in November, the elections were deferred due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

In a press conference on Friday, Kerala State Election Commissioner V Bhaskaran said that the elections will be held in three phases starting December 8.

He told media outlets, “In the first phase, local bodies in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta and Idukki will go to polls on December 8. Polls in Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad and Wayanad will be held during the second phase on December 10.”

“The third and final phase will be held on December 14 when elections will be held in Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasargod. The results will be announced on December 16,” V Bhaskaran added.

A total of 2.71 crores voters are expected to take part in the election process to 1,199 local bodies, for which elections are due. Masks, gloves and hand sanitizers will be mandatory for all voters during these elections in Kerala. Authorities have decided 7 am to 6 pm as the time for voting.

The Kerala State Election Commission will issue a notification on November 12 in this regard.

Candidates contesting the local body elections can file nominations till November 19. The nominations will be scrutinized on November 20 and candidates can withdraw nominations till November 23.

Voters who test positive for Covid-19 or those in quarantine can use the postal ballot facility to cast their votes. However, the voters must apply at least three days ahead of polling day to avail of this facility.

The Kerala State Election Commission is also considering the provision of PPE kits to Covid-19 patients if they test positive on the eve of the local body elections.

If a candidate tests positive for coronavirus, he/she must refrain from making public appearances and adhere to guidelines, the state election commission said.

India

Centre convenes all-party meet on Jan 30 ahead of Budget session

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Parliament

The Modi government has called an all-party meeting on January 30 to hold discussions ahead of the presentation of the Union Budget in Parliament on February 1.

The Centre has invited leaders of all political parties in both the Houses to the proposed meeting slated to begin at 11.30 am through videoconference. Sources said the National Democratic Alliance parties too will meet on the same day.

Parliament’s Budget session will be held in two phseses amid all precautions against coronavirus — from January 29 to February 15, and from March 8 to April 8.

The all-party meeting will be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP’s Rajya Sabha leader Thawarchand Gehlot, Deputy Leader Piyush Goyal, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi, Arjun Ram Meghwal and V Muralitharan.The one-hour Question Hour has been restored in the Budget session, which was suspended during the Monsoon session in September 2020 during corona pandemic.Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said on Tuesday that corona tests for members att

ending the Parliament session will be mandatory.

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India

Right to salary a fundamental right: Delhi HC

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Delhi High Court

New Delhi, Jan 20 : The Delhi High Court has pulled up the municipal corporations for the non-payment of salaries and pensions to their employees, noting that paucity of funds cannot be an excuse and that right to receive pay is a fundamental right enshrined under the Constitution of India.

A division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli was hearing a batch of petitions in relation to the non-payment of salaries and pensions to the employees of Delhi municipal corporations, particularly North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NrDMC) and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC).

“Reason assigned for non-payment of timely salaries is stated to be paucity of funds which, as is well settled, cannot be an excuse for non-payment, keeping in view the fact that the right to receive salary and pension is a fundamental right enshrined under Article 21 of Constitution and non-payment would have direct bearing on quality of life,” the court stated.

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NCP should decide on poll alliance soon: Goa leader

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Sharad Pawar

The Nationalist Congress Party should decide its political strategy for the 2022 Assembly polls in Goa well ahead of time, NCP state president Jose Philip D’Souza said on Wednesday.

D’Souza also said that party supremo Sharad Pawar was scheduled to arrive in Goa on Wednesday for a brief visit to meet with the state executive committee members and discuss strategy for the upcoming polls.

“We will be discussing our electoral agenda with Sharad Pawarji, because elections are just a year away,” D’Souza said.

“Planning should be done in advance. If like minded parties want to go together for the 2022 elections, it has to be decided now. We will be discussing this issue,” D’Souza also said.
The party had fared poorly in the 2017 Assembly polls winning just one seat in the 40-member Goa Assembly, after much delayed talks for an alliance with the Congress failed.

D’Souza claims that it was imperative for the party to ensure that if the party was to ally with a “like-minded” party for the 2022 polls, the deal had to be sewn together sooner rather than later.

“Whether we should go with an alliance with other parties or not, it has to be decided now. If we leave it for too late, with a month or two to go for elections, then there is limited scope for discussion and things can go wrong. The talks should begin now,” D’Souza said, adding that he would be discussing the matter with Pawar.

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