Updated: October 4, 2021 9:18:36 am
Ahead of the civic elections in the state next year, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Sunday issued an ordinance amending the Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act as part of which each prabhag or panel will elect three corporators. The decision will be applicable to all civic bodies in Maharashtra barring Mumbai where the “one ward, one corporator” system will continue to be implemented.
Following the ordinance, the Maharashtra government will notify the State Election Commission (SEC) to start the poll process for the three-corporator-per-prabhag system.
Issuing the ordinance, the Governor said, “In view of the Covid crisis in municipal corporation areas, it has been agreed upon that a multi-member ward will help in controlling the situation. Therefore, after reviewing the situation, and to streamline the functioning of the civic bodies, the government has carried out the amendment to the Act. Each panel will elect three members and not less than two or more than four. Since the state legislature is not in force as of now, the ordinance is being issued for the three-member panel system.”
Balasaheb Khandekar, who heads the election department of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), said the SEC will ask the civic bodies to demarcate the boundaries based on the 2011 population census. “Besides, it will decide upon the reservation in the panels and updation of the voters list after which the civic bodies will get into the act,” he added.
Khandekar said in PCMC, only one panel will elect two corporators while the rest 42 will elect three corporators. “However, the number of corporators at 128 will remain the same,” he said.
Corporator Asha Shendge said, “I was elected last year when four corporators were elected from one panel. In 2017, PCMC had 32 prabhags. In 2002, the three-corporator panel system was in place, which will now return for 2022 elections.”
The government decision has come despite the state Congress vehemently opposing the system.
Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief Nana Patole said the Congress will continue to “democratically oppose” the three-member panel system. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which too had opposed the system, has now decided to accept the government decision. Shiv Sena’s support to the system is evident with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who is also the Sena chief, giving his final approval to it.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Laxman Jagtap said, “Whether one member is elected or three, it won’t make any difference to the BJP. We will have more number of corporators than (we did in) the 2017 elections.”
In 2017, the BJP had grabbed power in PCMC by unseating the NCP. It was the maiden victory for the BJP since the first PCMC elections in 1986. Following all subsequent elections till 2017, either the Congress or the NCP had ruled the civic body.
Sena Parliamentarian Shrirang Barne said, “The actual position or equation will become clear only after reservations for women, OBCs, SCs and STs are announced.”
Barne said the Sena will do much better than the last elections. As for alliance with the NCP, Barne said the party leadership will take a final call in this regard.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which will be contesting the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and PCMC polls for the first time, has strongly opposed the three-corporator panel system. “In multi-member ward, it becomes difficult to fix responsibility. For smaller parties especially, the system is disastrous. We are in favour of ‘one ward, one corporator’ which is as per the constitutional provision,” said Mukund Kirdat, Pune president for AAP.
Former mayor Yogesh Behl, also a PCMC corporator, said, “The three-member panel will now change the boundaries. It is in the interest of both the voters and the candidates.”
Welcoming the government decision, the NCP’s Pimpri-Chinchwad chief Sanjog Waghere said, “Because of the corruption during the BJP rule, the NCP will stage a comeback in the 2022 elections.”
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