Elections for housing societies in Pune may commence from April

There are about 18,000 co-operative housing societies in Pune District.

Elections to housing societies which have been delayed owing to Covid-19 pandemic will commence soon with the state government providing the necessary permissions to hold them. There are about 18,000 co-operative housing societies in Pune District.

The elections for housing societies which have more than 250 members can be undertaken immediately, while those with less than 250 members will have to wait until the government publishes the revised rules for conduction of polls. The co-operative department has published new draft rules for housing societies which have less than 250 members and has invited objections from citizens before February 22.

As per officials, the new rules for societies with less than 250 members will be finalised and notified by March and elections for these societies can take place thereon.

The new draft rules for these societies have several important changes including provision of forming panels (on the lines of gram panchayat polls) and opting for election symbols (but not of existing political parties).

With new rules, the pre-election process will also become elaborate with a month or more devoted to the preparation of the voter list, filing of nominations, campaigning and withdrawal of candidates’ names. This will be followed by voting, counting, announcement of results by a returning officer (RO), and filing of appeals in case of any objections. A returning officer can be an independent society member who will undergo election training at a designated institute.

A contestant will have to be seconded by two members. There will also be a deposit.

Tejaswini Dhomse, President of Pimpri Chinchwad Co-operative Housing Societies’ Federation, said that the delay in elections was causing great inconvenience to the residents as in many housing societies previously elected bodies have expired.

“We are hoping that the new rules are notified at the earliest so that the elections can place at the soonest for the smaller societies. Elections for bigger societies (with more than 250 members) will commence now as they don’t need to wait for the notification,” Dhomse said. She said in Pimpri-Chinchwad about 1,000 housing societies may have over 250-members, while rest would be those with fewer members.

Last week, the Maharashtra government allowed all co-operative societies, including housing societies, to hold elections. The latest January order that postponed elections till March 31 stands cancelled and all elections in all co-operative societies like banks, housing societies can be held.

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