Updated: October 28, 2021 3:08:01 am
The Maharashtra cabinet on Wednesday decided to increase the number of councillors in the civic bodies in the state. The number is expected to be between 174 and 185 for the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).
The move comes within a month of the state election commission directing the PMC to undertake delimitation of the electoral panel.
In the cabinet meeting held in Mumbai, the state government approved the urban development department’s proposal to increase the number of councillors in urban local bodies, considering the rapid urbanisation and delay in 2021 census data.
Until now, the minimum strength of councillors in a municipal corporation was 65 and maximum 175. The state cabinet decided to increase the minimum strength by 17 per cent considering the rate at which the population has increased in urban areas since 2011.
For municipal corporations with population over 30 lakh, the strength of councillors would be a minimum of 168 and maximum of 185. “PMC has a population of 35.56 lakh people, considering the increase in numbers due to extension of civic boundaries. As per the earlier rules, the councillor strength was supposed to be 166, which was an increase of four to the existing strength of 162. However, the new decision would increase the councillor strength to 174 or more, up to 185. We have to wait for state election commission order,” said a PMC officer.
On October 6, the state government had asked the PMC to undertake delimitation of electoral panel for electing 166 councillors for the next five-year term while considering the extension of civic boundaries. The state government has already decided that the civic body election will be held on the basis of three-member wards with a total of 55 electoral wards for PMC.
The current five-year term of PMC comes to an end on March 15 next year and it is necessary to hold elections for the next term on time as per the law. Earlier, there were speculations that the civic elections might get delayed due to pandemic but the state election commission has begun the process to complete the polls on time.
In 2017, the civic elections were held in four-member wards. The PMC had a total of 162 members elected through 41 wards, which included 39 wards with four members and two wards with three members. Later, two more members were elected with inclusion of 11 new villages in civic jurisdiction, taking the total strength to 164 members in the current five-year term.
The Maharashtra government recently merged 23 more villages in PMC limits, increasing its geographical area and population. However, the state election commission, while directing the civic administration to begin the delimitation process, increased the number of seats to 166 for the next elections based on the 2011 census figures as the 2021 census has got delayed due to pandemic.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had won full majority at the PMC in 2012 by winning 97 of the total of 162 seats. This was the first time the BJP had come to power in the civic body by dislodging the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). While the NCP had bagged 39 seats, Shiv Sena won 10 seats, Congress nine seats, MNS two seats and AIMIM one seat. Four seats were won by Independents.
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