The political careers of several corporators received a major jolt as the State Election Commission on Monday drew lots to revise reservations for the 227 electoral wards across the city , ahead of the 2017 BMC elections.Delimitation has especially affected many corporators in the suburbs, whose wards are now divided into as many as four parts.
Of the 227 electoral wards, 75 have been reserved for women, another 75 are open (unreserved), 15 reserved for Scheduled Castes, two for Scheduled Tribes and 60 for Other Backward Classes (OBC). It was officially announced that electoral wards in the suburbs would increase while the island city has lost seven of the total 227 electoral wards. Electoral seats increased in P-North (Malad and Malvani), RNorth (Dahisar), R-South (Kandivli Charkop), P-South (Goregaon), S (Bhandup and Vikhroli), M-East (Deonar and Mankurd), L ward (Kurla and Saki Naka). Meanwhile wards A to E in south Mumbai have lost one seat each while two seats were reduced in G-South ward.
On Monday , the commission announced the new ward boundaries, which would be finalized at a later date. Corporators and several other politicians waited with bated breath in a packed Rangsharda Auditorium at Bandra as ward numbers printed on paper were randomly picked by municipal school students and declared as reserved.
Municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta, who presided over the reservation process, said, “The delimitation of wards has been done keeping in mind the population in each ward. However, we have kept in mind that natural boundaries or railway lines are not crossed in case of every ward as far as possible.”
Once the draft ward formation list is published, suggestions objections will be sought from citizens till October 20. Any citizen can give suggestions or objections if they find the draft has missed out on a certain colony , or a colony has been split into two. By November 18, the State Election Commission will take a final decision on the wards following which on November 22, the civic chief will publish the list and map along with changes suggested by the commission.
The fortunes of many corporators changed in one stroke as their bastions were declared reserved. For example, Congress corporator and ex Opposition leader in the BMC, Devendra Amberkar, said his existing ward has been divided into four parts.”This is very unfortunate and it appears those in power have purposefully redrawn the wards in such a way . Wherever I contest from, I may not get much support from my old voters,” said Amberkar.