The State Election Commission began consultations with the three civic bodies Monday to invite suggestions and objections to the draft of the delimitation of wards being carried out ahead of the civic elections in 2017.
The poll watchdog team led by State Election Commissioner Rakesh Mehta gave details of the delimitation process to the councillors of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation.
However, councillors of both the BJP and the Congress raised objections, claiming that “associate members” were not appointed while beginning the process of delimitation.
According to the Delimitation Act, 2002, the commission “shall associate with itself for the purpose of assisting in its duties in respect of each state, ten persons, five of whom shall be members of the House of People representing that state and five shall be members of the Legislative Assembly of that state.”
Senior members of both parties alleged that politically active people had been kept out of the delimitation process. Meanwhile, terming the exercise faulty, BJP leader Ashish Sood said in 68 of the 70 Assembly constituencies, the borders had been breached while drawing new boundaries for wards. “When the government order for delimitation clearly states that boundary of a ward should be carved within the boundary of the relevant Assembly constituency, how can they go beyond their brief?” said Sood.
Leader of the opposition, Farhad Suri questioned the entire process. “Power to go ahead with delimitation is delegated to the Lieutenant Governor. The LG can ask the State Election Commission to assist him. The 2007 order of delimitation was very specific on this matter. The (LG) Najeeb Jung order states he is assigning that task to EC. When you are first delegated, you cannot further delegate responsibility. This is wrong in law.” Members also raised objections to the EC not maintaining ward strength in terms of population.
Mehta said members’ concerns had been noted and would be resolved within the next two months. “There is a 10 to 15 per cent disparity in the population of the wards. First, we will address the Assembly boundary issue and subsequently, their concerns on population of wards. The completion of the process will take approximately two more months.”
The EC will brief members of the North and East civic bodies on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.