The Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad municipal corporations,along with eight other civic bodies in the state,will go to the polls on February 16. The counting for both the civic bodies will take place either on February 16 or February 17. The code of conduct came into force from 3.30 pm on Tuesday.
The State Election Commission on Tuesday announced the dates,taking into consideration Classes X and XII examinations which are held from the last week of February to the end of March. Zilla Parishad elections in the state will be held on February 7 and counting will be done the next day.
State Election Commissioner Neela Satyanarayan said that a working day instead of a weekend was selected for the polls 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.
The SEC has left the decision on counting of votes to municipal commissioners. “For PMC,the counting will most probably be done on the day of the voting. We are making preparations and would soon announce the decision,” said PMC commissioner Mahesh Pathak. “As of now,the counting date for us is February 17. We are awaiting detailed instructions to take the final decision,” said PCMC commissioner Asheesh Sharma.
The last civic elections were held on 12 February,2007 when the NCP got majority in PCMC while in PMC it had to share power first with BJP and Shiv Sena under the Pune Pattern only to join hands with Congress later. The last elections were held on ward basis,but February 2012 elections will be held on panel basis.
In PMC,the corporator strength has increased from 144 to 152 while in PCMC it has increased from 105 to 128. PCMC will have 74 panels while PMC will have 76 panels. Each panel will elect two corporators. This will be the first time when there would be 50 women corporators as the women’s quota has been increased from 33 per cent to 50 per cent. This means,there would be 76 women corporators in PMC and 64 in PCMC.
PMC has 24,76,700 lakh voters. However,Election Officer Pravin Ashtikar said the final list of voters will be released on January 12. In Pimpri,the election officers said there are 11,60,000 voters and the final list will be out next week.
The SEC said although the Commission was trying to test online voting in Mumbai,it would not be possible during these elections.
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation – the richest civic body in the country – will witness the keenest fight between the ruling Shiv Sena-BJP,Congress,NCP and the newest entrant MNS. The saffron alliance has been in power for the last two decades in the municipal body. 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.
Within hours of the election announcement,the BJP approached the SEC demanding that counting of ZP and civic body polls be done on December 16 itself so that voters will not be influenced. “In order to ensure free and fair elections,we will request the counting of votes of DC elections to be done along with MC as there is not much gap,” said Vinod Tawde,leader of opposition in the Legislative Council.