Following a go-ahead from the state government to increase the number of electoral wards in Mumbai from 227 to 236, the BMC has finalised the formation of new ones, besides ward demarcation. As per the plan drawn up by the civic body, three new wards will be formed in three different regions – western suburbs, eastern suburbs and the island city.
Civic officials said that the polls, which were to be held in February, are now likely to be scheduled in March. The ward boundaries, they said, have been changed and demarcated keeping in view the increased population. Meanwhile, political parties have started reworking their poll strategies based on these new boundaries.
A civic official on condition of anonymity said that boundaries of around 60 electoral wards have changed, which is nearly 25 per cent of the total. Going ahead, the BMC will submit the list to the State Election Commission (SEC). Another official said that the SEC will then scrutinise the proposal and invite suggestions and objections from the general public and other stakeholders.
The official said, “As per protocol, we will then conduct a lottery for fixing the reservation of these wards – for women candidates and even caste-based reservations. Meanwhile, the five-year term of the current corporators will get over by March 7. So, we have to wait for election dates to be announced before that or take a decision for the appointment of an administrator until the elections are held.”
In August 2021, the SEC had directed the municipal corporations to begin delimitation of ward boundaries. Following this, the BMC had submitted a final draft of rectified electoral ward boundaries on October 26. The BJP corporators had protested and opposed the move, alleging that it's meant to favour the ruling Shiv Sena. The BMC, however, attributed it to a bid to balance voter population equally among wards.
As per the 2011 census, the population growth in suburbs and a drop in the island city were taken into account while redrawing the electoral wards. Each ward had a population of around 54,000. BJP leaders, however, argued that the latest Census data is not available.
In November 2021, though, the state cabinet finally approved the proposal to increase the number of BMC electoral wards. An amendment to this effect was made in the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888, to change the composition of the civic body by the state urban development department.
As per the current distribution of elected representatives in the civic body in the existing 227 seats, the ruling party Shiv Sena has 97 corporators, while the BJP has 83, Congress 29, NCP eight, Samajwadi Party six, the AIMIM and MNS have two and one, respectively.