Mumbai and nine other municipal corporations in the state will go to the polls on February 16 in a major test of the political fortunes of the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance,which is in power in seven of these urban civic bodies.
The State Election Commission (SEC) on Tuesday announced the dates for the crucial elections taking into consideration Class X and XII examinations,which are held from the last week of February to the end of March.
BMC the richest civic body in the country will witness the keenest fight between the ruling Shiv Sena-BJP,Congress,Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the newest entrant,Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). The saffron alliance has been in power in the municipal body for the past two decades.
Shiv Sena and BJP are also in power in the adjoining city of Thane,Nashik,Akola,Amravati and Ulhasnagar. BJP is ruling in the Nagpur Municipal Corporation; NCP is in power in Pune,Pimpri-Chinchwad,while Congress is in power in Solapur.
Elections to 27 district councils (zilla parishads) will be held on February 7 and counting will be done the next day.
State election commissioner Neela Satyanarayan said a working day instead of a weekend was selected to conduct the elections to reduce the chances of people travelling or going on holidays. She added that during its recent drive to enroll voters in the state,23 lakh new voters had submitted applications of which three lakh were from Mumbai. We have chosen to hold the election on an odd day instead of a Sunday so that people do not travel out, said Satyanarayan.
She added that although the commission was trying to test online voting in Mumbai,it would not be possible during these elections. Satyanarayan said the BMC commissioner had reported that they will have to conduct voting at 36 centres in Mumbai on the first or second floor. One voting centre has to be set up for 1,000 people in Mumbai and 800 people in district councils.
This is not as per our rules as it proves to be problematic for aged and ailing persons. We required the voting booths to be on the ground floor. We will inspect these sites and take a decision.