BMC releases detailed map showing demarcation of 236 electoral wards in Mumbai

BMC releases detailed map showing demarcation of 236 electoral wards in Mumbai

After approving the ward delimitation/ demarcation draft submitted by the BMC the State Election Commission (SEC) has now directed the BMC to call for suggestions and objections from the citizens and other stakeholders pertaining to the ward delimitation.

Dipti SinghUpdated: Tuesday, February 01, 2022, 10:58 PM IST
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BMC releases detailed map showing demarcation of 236 electoral wards in Mumbai | PTI

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has released a detailed map showing the demarcation of 236 electoral wards in Mumbai. After approving the ward delimitation/ demarcation draft submitted by the BMC the State Election Commission (SEC) has now directed the BMC to call for suggestions and objections from the citizens and other stakeholders pertaining to the ward delimitation.

The Mumbai civic body has invited suggestions and objections from the general public and other stakeholders from February 1 to February 14. Thereafter, on February 16, BMC will submit the same to SEC informing the election body about what kind of suggestions and objections they have received.
The BMC has also been allowed to organise hearings for the members of the public who have given suggestions and objections till February 26. By March 2, the concerned officer of the BMC has been directed to submit the suggestions to the SEC.

The civic body has formed nine new wards by merging, splitting and reconstituting areas from neighbouring wards. Thereafter increasing the number of wards from 227 to 236. According to BMC officials following the demarcation process, there are over 70 per cent changes in the boundaries of electoral wards, while over 50 per cent of changes in the boundaries of administrative wards.


New ward constitution
Of the nine new electoral wards that have been formed, three wards each have been increased in eastern suburbs, western suburbs and city. R north which had 8 electoral wards will now have nine wards in total. Ward no 7 was reconstituted taking part of areas from neighbouring wards from electoral ward no 6 in R north and ward no 11 and 13 from R central. Whereas the boundaries of many electoral wards were changed and dragged into another ward, the reshuffling and boundaries changes in the entire R/south ward has led to the local corporators still figuring out which are the new wards. Electoral Ward no 88 was reconstituted after taking parts of areas from ward no 85 from K east and ward no 87 from H / east ward. A new ward was constituted after taking parts of areas from ward 128 and merging with areas from the L ward (Kurla). Three different areas which were part of ward no 130 in Ghatkopar east was reshuffled and added in three other electoral wards.
In south Mumbai Electoral Ward, no 219 was reconstituted by taking parts of areas from electoral ward no 211 and 213 from E ward and 224 from B ward. Besides this one electoral ward each was increased meaning M west and M east that is combining Chembur east and west, one is G south that is Worli area and one emerging areas between F south and G south that is Parel and Lalbaug area.
" The demarcation has been done almost evenly distributing population and following proper protocol and rules. New wards have come up in Dahisar, Kandivali, Andheri east, Ghatkopar, Kurla, Chembur east-west combined, Parel - Lalbaug combined, Worli and Byculla. Suggestions and objections from the public have been invited following which final call of elimination will be taken," said a senior BMC officer.


History of ward delimitation and reshuffling
After the Census data was published in 1991, the BMC seats were increased from 170 to 221 on the basis of the increased population. Thereafter the electoral wards were increased in Mumbai was in 2002 when the number went up from 221 to 227. After the 2011 census came out, the BMC had redrawn electoral wards to account for a rise in population in the suburbs and a decline in the island city.

Ahead of 2017, the number of electoral wards in the city remained 227. While the number of wards remained constant, atleast 90 per cent of the ward boundaries were changed leading to many corporators losing their stronghold. Many corporators from different political parties had their wards distributed in three to four different wards resulting in them losing their voter base.

Following this in June 2021, the BMC’s Leader of the Opposition and Congress corporator Ravi Raja had written to the State Election Commission (SEC) seeking “rectification” of at least 45 ward boundaries that had been allegedly changed by the BJP to “favour” them in 2017 civic polls. Subsequently, the state election body issued a fresh order on the delimitation of electoral wards, inviting suggestions and objections from the public.
Rivals oppose delimitation, Ruling party firm
BJP corporators Abhijit Samant and Rajashree Shirwadkar had moved court against the delimitation exercise, stating that the ordinance cleared by the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, amending the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, was “illegal” as it was based on 10-year-old figures from the 2011 Census. The petition was however dismissed by the Bombay high court last week. "This is nothing but an attempt to break and disbalance the stronghold of BJP corporators. In the guise of increasing the wards and balancing the population distribution, they have reshuffled and tampered with all the wards. This has been done with vested interests to create confusion amongst voters and shatter vote banks," said BJP corporator from Mulund BJP group leader in BMC Prabhakar Shinde.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar said: " Ahead of 2017 elections several wards were broken into two or three or even more parts and ward boundaries were tweaked with an aim to favour BJP. There was no planning or thought put into the reshuffling then just to achieve the political gain. As a result, in some wards, the population was 65,000, while many were 40,000 to 45000. Now the delimitation has been done in a systematic manner distributing the population properly and SEC has approved the draft."
What other party leaders in BMC say:
Corporators have mixed reactions to the proposed delimitation of electoral wards. While some are angry over their ward boundaries changing making a huge dent in their vote bank, some have said that merging and splitting electoral wards from two or three different administrative wards is not a good idea. Meanwhile a few have said that the entire delimitation of the electoral ward has been carried out to favour the ruling party and that it is "illegal".
Ravi Raja, leader of opposition in BMC said: "The exercise of delimitation and demarcation of wards was initiated after I wrote to the SEC in 2021. During the 2017 elections, BJP was in power in the state, the way the boundaries were reshuffled, it was evident that the exercise was carried out to achieve political gains by BJP. The work on part of the SEC is satisfactory. However, in some places, electoral wards are merged or split involving different administrative wards, which does not seem to be a good idea to me. Congress Party has formed a committee to submit objections and suggestions to the proposed delimitation and we will definitely take up this issue."
Rais Shaikh, Samajwadi Party corporator fro, E ward and MLA from Bhiwandi called the entire exercise of delimitation illegal. "The party in power has influenced the entire exercise of demarcation and which is illegal. The same was done by BJP in 2017 when they reshuffled ward boundaries 2017 for political gain. There is no difference between Shiv Sena and BJP, both have misused their power in their favour. The demarcation process was not fair. We will oppose this lodge our objection," Shaikh said.
Ujwala Modak, BJP corporator from 74 said: "I don't understand what kind of demarcation is this where electoral wards from different administrative wards have been merged and split. This will confuse voters. My ward has been shifted from 74 now to 76. This has happened to the majority of corporators, by tweaking the ward boundaries they are splitting the vote banks.

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