Updated: September 29, 2021 2:36:30 pm
Day after the state cabinet approved a three-member ward system for the civic polls in the state, except in Mumbai, the Maharashtra unit of Congress, which was pushing for a one or two-member ward system, decided to continue its opposition to the move.
“We are opposed to the three-member ward system. Despite our opposition, the government has gone ahead and decided to implement the three-member system. I have decided not to talk to the Chief Minister anymore on this issue. We will continue to oppose the government’s decision through democratic means,” said Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief Nana Patole.
Patole said local representatives as well as citizens are in favour of one or two-member wards. “We had conveyed the public sentiments to the Chief Minister. Congress had also passed a resolution to this effect in its meeting. Yet, the government has rejected the demand. That’s why I am not going to talk to the CM on this subject,” he said.
At the cabinet meeting held Tuesday, the Chief Minister said demands were made for either four-member or two-member wards. We found a middle path and have decided to implement a three-member ward system.
Last week, Congress ministers Balasaheb Thorat and Nitin Raut had said that during the cabinet meeting they had demanded implementation of the one-ward, one member system. Subsequently, the state Congress passed a resolution to the effect in its meeting.
Pune Congress spokesperson Ramesh Iyer said, “Congress has been right from the beginning demanding the implementation of the one ward, one member system. The system gives a party an opportunity to increase its base and do justice to its leaders who await five years to fight an election. For a party like Congress, one ward, one member system is more suitable.”
Iyer said Congress, which ruled PMC from 1992 to 2007, fared badly after the 2007 elections. “In the last election, Congress could get only nine corporators elected. Subsequently, it also lost the parliamentary elections. The party is looking for a rejuvenation. Civic elections are the best way to increase the party’s base and get more candidates and voters under its umbrella,” he said.
A Congress leader alleged that NCP and Shiv Sena have reached some sort of deal on the civic election. “It is likely that NCP will support Shiv Sena in the Mumbai civic elections and in return, the Sena will support NCP in the PMC election. NCP is weak in Mumbai and Sena is weak in Pune. So, it serves the interests of both the parties,” he said.
NCP spokesperson Ankush Kakade said, “Our party was also pushing for a two-member ward system. But now that the decision has been made, we will go with it. As far as the alliance is concerned, I don’t think in the civic elections there will be any alliance. Every party wants to grow and civic elections are an ideal opportunity to revitalise parties and their cadre.”
Shiv Sena MP Shrirang Barne said, “Since the cabinet has now taken the final decision on a three-member ward system, the Sena is all geared up for it. We have been preparing for it for a long time. Our leaders are constantly holding meetings and rallies with the cadre to prepare them for the ensuing civic poll battle.”
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