Rajasthan assembly passes bills scrapping minimum qualification for local polls

Yash Goyal
Jaipur, February 11

Rajasthan Legislative Assembly on Monday passed by voice vote two amendment bills removing a rider of minimum qualification and allowing illiterate to contest Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI) and civic bodies elections in the state. 

The Rajasthan Municipalities (Amendment) Bill, 2019, and The Rajasthan Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Bill, 2019, were passed after a brief debate as the Opposition BJP members were holding protest against the Congress government's ambiguous farmers' crop loan waiver scheme since Zero Hour. 

Defending the bill's amendments, PRI Minister and Deputy CM Sachin Pilot said the provision of educational qualification creates unreasonable restrictions on the right of the voters to contest the election at the grassroots level. Therefore it is proposed that the restriction of educational qualification for contesting election for the office of sarpanch or a member of Zila Parishad or Panchayat Samiti be removed, Pilot said. 

The previous BJP government had introduced the minimum qualification of class 10 for Zila Parishad/Panchayat member election, and class 5 or 8 class for the post of sarpanch. 

Shanti Dhariwal, UDH and Local Bodies Minister, defended similar amendments to municipal body polls by scraping the minimum qualification condition. The previous BJP government had put a rider of class 10 for contesting these polls. 

Earlier in the day during business hour, the Ashok Gehlot government tabled two bills -- The Harideo Joshi Journalism and Public Relations University and The Dr BR Ambedkar Law University -- which were closed down by the BJP government. These two universities are proposed to be set up in Jaipur.

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