To help kick-start the delimitation exercise in seven of the eight municipal corporations that will later go to polls in Gujarat, the Urban Development and Urban Housing Department of the state government on Wednesday issued notifications increasing 12 seats in Gandhinagar and four seats in Surat civic bodies.
“We have notified the change in wards in seven of the eight municipal corporations. The change in wards are only for Gandhinagar and Surat municipal corporations. For the rest, the number of wards will remain the same,” a senior official of the urban development department told The Indian Express. Junagadh Municipal Corporation went to polls in July 2019, where BJP had won.
The declaration of wards in the municipal corporations is a prerequisite before the state election commission kick starts the delimitation exercise by deciding the areas (a few weeks ago, government had added new areas in six municipal corporations) to be included in each ward with the help of the respective district collectors. The election commission cannot alter the number of wards once notified by the government.
As per Wednesday’s notification, the number of wards in Surat Municipal Corporation have been increased by one to 30.
The number of seats therefore goes up by four to 120 seats.
The increase in seats comes after the government on June 18, issued a notification stating the merger of 27 villages and 2 municipalities to Surat Municipal Corporation. With this, the area of the Surat Municipal Corporation increased by 146 square kilometres. With the merger of new areas, the population of city will reach up to approximately 61.76 lakhs.
Similarly, in Gandhinagar the number of wards have gone up to 11 from 8. The number of seats have subsequently gone up to 44 for the upcoming elections. In the remaining civic bodies including the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, there is no change in the number of wards and seats.
Similarly, the Vadodara Municipal Corporation, which has 76 seats, will remain unchanged with the number of election wards as well as elected representatives. However, the number of voters is expected to increase by about 30,000 as the state government has notified the inclusion of seven peripheral villages in the city limits earlier in June.
On June 20, Rajkot Municipal Commissioner Udit Agrawal had issued an order putting newly-merged Madhapar-Manharpur-1, Ghanteshwar, Mota Mava and Munjka villages under administrative jurisdiction of the contiguous existing administrative wards of the civic body. The order had made Mota Mava part of Ward No.10, Munjka part of Ward No.9, Ghanteshwar part of Ward No.1 and Madhapar-Manharpur-1 a part of Ward No.2. “But this order was limited to the administration of these newly-merged areas only and had nothing to do with election,” Agrawal told The Indian Express on Wednesday. In the 2015 election, Rajkot had 18 election wards and 72 seats.
The government in the notifications also specifies the number of seats which are reserved for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and women.”The notification also mentions a rotation policy wherein the wards with odd number of seats will interchange among men and women candidates compared to last polls. For instance, if there were three seats for Scheduled Castes and currently two males are one female are occupying it, for the next elections, it will become two females and one male. At the same time, the overall reservation for women in local body polls will continue to remain 50 per cent,” the official from the urban development department said.
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