The Gujarat State Election Commission on Friday declared its primary delimitation order for reorganisation of election wards of municipal corporations of Ahmedabad and Rajkot. With this, out of the six municipal corporations which are scheduled to go to polls later this year, the Commission has issued primary delimitation orders for Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Surat and Vadodara. The orders for Bhavnagar and Jamnagar municipal corporations are expected soon. Under the order, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation will now have 48 wards instead of the current number of 64 wards.
Earlier, each ward used to have three councillors, but with the latest legislation of Gujarat Government mandating 50 per cent reservation for women in the Urban Local Bodies (UBLs), the number of councillors for each ward has been made four. The number of councillors of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), though, has remained 192. As per the notification, out of the 192 seats in AMC, total 117 seats are kept under reserved category while 75 are general seats. Out of the 117 reserved seats, 96 seats are for women, 20 for SC candidates, two for ST and 19 for OBC.
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As per the delimitation order for Ahmedabad, out of the 192 seats, 96 seats will be reserved for women. The ward-wise population has been kept at around 1.16 lakhs. Following the primary delimitation orders, the Commission invites objections from different stake holders and will issue a final order after considering the objections.
According to the delimitation order for Rajkot, the number of election wards in the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) has been reduced to 18 from the earlier 23. However, each reorganised election ward will have four seats instead of the earlier number of three each. Therefore, the total number of seats in RMC will go up to 72 from the existing 69. This means that there will be 72 corporators in the general board of the civic body after elections later this year.
The delimitation order also mandates that 50 per cent of the total seats in the civic body will be reserved for women as provided in the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporation (Delim-itation of Wards in City and Allocation of Reserved Seats) (Amendment) Rules, 2015. Therefore, the new general board will have 36 women corporators. The present board has 23 women corporators, with the reservation limit being 33%.
Furthermore, the order stipulates to reserve five seats for SC and seven seats for Other Backward Classes (OBC). Taking into account the concentration of their population, the election commission has decided to reserve one seat each in ward 3, 4, 8, 13 and 15 for SC. Out of these, seats of ward 3 and 4 will be reserved for women from SC.
Similarly, one seat each in ward 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 11 and 14 will be reserved for OBC and out of them, ward 1, 2 and 11 have been earmarked as reserved for women from OBC. Considering, the sizable population of ST in ward 1, the election commission has for the fist time decided to reserve a seat for the ST in Rajkot.
The commission has taken into account the population date of census 2011. The census had pegged the population of the city at 13,46,192. This number has been divided equally into 18 wards.
So, each ward will have average 74, 788 voters, with a 10 per cent more or less. But election officers in RMC said that population in any ward will not be less than 67,000 or more than 82,000.
The commission has invited suggestions and objections to the primary order within 10 days of the publication of the order. However, Bhikha Vasoya, president of Rajkot unit of the BJP, said that his party would not seek any changes in the delimitation order.