September 23, 2021 1:27:05 pm
With the state cabinet deciding to introduce a three-member ward system for corporations in Maharashtra except in Mumbai, BJP and NCP in Pimpri-Chinchwad are claiming that the system will help them win the elections. NCP, which was pushing for a two-member ward (in corporations), said though the decision is against its recommendation, it would not mind the new system.
“We were preparing for the one ward, one corporator. Now since the state cabinet has now decided to implement a three-member ward system, we will have to make new arrangements. However, it all depends on the directives of the state election commission. Only after we receive the directives from it, we would start preparations for the three-member ward system,” said PCMC assistant municipal commissioner Balasaheb Khandekar, who looks after the election department.
Khandekar said as per the protocol, the state cabinet decision will go before the governor who will issue an ordinance to the effect. “After that, the election commission will come into play. It will then have to amend its earlier order in which it had asked civic bodies to prepare for a one ward, one corporator system,” he said.
Khandekar said even if a three-member ward system is implemented, the number of corporators in PCMC will remain the same at 128. “But PCMC will have either 42 or 43 wards unlike the 32 panels of the last civic elections,” he said.
Reacting to the state government decision, NCP Pimpri-Chinchwad chief Sanjog Waghere said the party was in favour of the two-ward system. “We were against one ward, one corporator system. In a two-member ward system, the two corporators can have better coordination even if they belong to two different political parties. In one ward, one corporator system, people who are in disagreement or have quarrel with that particular (corporator) are at a disadvantage. That is why we were recommending two-member wards,” he said. However, now that the government has decided on three-member wards, NCP will not oppose it. “We will go with it, as it will work in our favour,” Waghere said. NCP had ruled PCMC in association with Congress for nearly 15 years. However, in 2017, BJP grabbed power in PCMC with a brute majority.
The ruling BJP in PCMC said it was opposed to one ward, one corporator system from the beginning and was in favour of four-member wards. “This is what happened in the 2017 elections when four corporators were elected in from one prabhag (division),” said Namdeo Dhake, BJP house leader in PCMC.
Dhake said the three-party MVA government has no coordination among themselves. “As soon as the MVA government came to power in the state, it started implementing one ward, one corporator system. And now, they have decided to change it to three-member wards. There is a lot of confusion among the three parties. All this while, they have not been able to reach a conclusion. Finally, they seem to have decided that the three-member ward system works for them and therefore have gone in its favour,” said Dhake.
However, Dhake said the three parties are living under a wrong illusion. “In a three-member ward, BJP will have a huge advantage. We will get an opportunity to retain power. The voters will cast an overwhelming number of votes in our favour because of the development that we have carried out. We have committed voters, unlike other parties whose voters keep vacillating…” he said.
Corporator Seema Savale, former standing committee chairperson of PCMC, said, “a three-member ward is any day better than one ward, one corporator system. First, in one ward, one corporator system, muscle power comes into play big time. Secondly, if citizens have a problem with a particular corporator, they are left with no option as to whom to approach to get their work done. Thirdly, for one corporator, it becomes difficult to reach out to every citizen of the ward. Besides, aspirants also are at a disadvantage. Suppose, the ward becomes reserved, then the aspirants from other communities lose the opportunity to contest. If there are three different categories, then he or she can contest from any one category. It means they have an option to contest in a three-member ward,” Savale said.
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