BMC Election: Prominent corporators lose wards to new boundaries, reservations
On Monday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which will go to the polls early next year, announced the reservations of seats by draw of lottery, unveiling a new electoral map that will force political parties to redraw their strategy to win votes.
Though the total number of seats across the metropolis remained the same at 227, lottery rejigged positioning of wards by following the rotation policy for reservation.
Of the 227 seats, 149 were kept open for general category candidates (74 for women and 75 for men), 61 for OBCs (31 for women and 30 for men), 15 for SCs (8 for women and 7 for men) while 2 seats were reserved for ST nominees (1 each for woman and 1 for man).
Members of general public, aspirants and political leaders were present to witness the lottery proceedings that was personally monitored by Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta.
In 2012, BMC became the first civic body in India to reserve 50 per cent of its seats for women candidates.
State Election Commission (SEC) officials conducted the lottery in the presence of Mehta and redrew the electoral ward boundaries. Each ward will have a population of over 54,000.
The wards that were put under the open category in the last elections (in 2012) were this time reserved for various categories as per the rotation rule for quotas.
Election Commission will now publish the draft information of all wards on 5 October to which citizens can put forward their objections and suggestions till 20 October, said a senior official from SEC.
Currently, the country’s richest municipal body is jointly ruled by Shiv Sena and BJP, who are in power since last 20 years.
Shiv Sena won 76 seats and BJP 32 in the last elections. They were later supported by over a dozen Independent Corporators. Congress secured 50 seats, MNS 28, NCP 14 and Samajwadi Party bagged 8, among others.
Some Corporators, however, termed this exercise of redrawing electoral boundaries as ‘unfair’ and said it will adversely affect their calculations and preparations for the upcoming polls.
MNS’ Sandeep Deshpande’s ward no 185 and Samajwadi Party’s Rais Shaikh’s ward no 132 have been reserved for a women candidates.
“Now I won’t be contesting from the ward where I was elected last time and worked hard to serve the people. I will have to contest from a different ward,” said Sandeep Deshpande, Group leader of MNS in the House, who lost his seat in the reshuffle.
Mayor Snehal Ambekar’s ward no 194 in Parel has been divided between two adjoining wards. Moreover, the existing ward has been thrown open to the general category, while Ambekar had contested under the SC category.
Another Sena corporator, Yashodhar Phanse’s ward no 56 was divided into two, same with BJP’s Manoj Kotak’s ward no 103.
Congress corporators Praveen Chheda (ward no 124) and Devendra Amberkar’s (ward no 57) respective wards have been split into four.
Sources claim that while many are still eligible to contest from their neighbouring wards, a ‘significant’ number of corporators might resort to contesting the elections in their wives’ names.