The redrawing of the electoral map of the city ahead of the civic polls in 2017 is likely to hit nearly 80% of the wards, upsetting calculations of political parties and many sitting corporators.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will announce the reservations and the new wards formed after delimitation on Monday. According to sources, while the number of wards (227) will remain the same, the areas they cover might change. Moreover, with the increase in scheduled caste (SC) population, the number of wards reserved for SC candidates has risen to 15 from the current 11. The number of wards in the open category will drop from the existing 77.
This means that 80% of the 227 corporators may not retain their wards and consequently the voter base, which they have nurtured over the past five years. The changes will make selection of candidates tricky.
The 2011 census, population growth in the suburbs and drop in the island city have been taken into account while redrawing electoral wards. Each ward has an approximate population of 54,000.
“The process has been going on for the past two years. We have taken the enumeration data from the 2011 census and carried out GIS mapping of electoral wards before redrawing the boundaries,” said a civic officials. According to sources, seven wards from the island city will be reallocated in the suburbs, while three wards from the suburbs will be restructured.
Civic officials said only 13 to 15 wards, mainly in the suburbs, have retained 100% of their existing area. Around 20 to 25 wards will see 80% of the existing area being changed, while the remaining will see a change of about 40% in their existing area.
This will prove to be a challenge for political parties. For instance, if a major portion of ward no. 1 has to be shifted to ward no. 2 because of population growth, the current corporator of ward no. 1 would want to contest from ward no. 2 and the current corporator would want his seat to be retained.
The scenario will be worse in case of scheduled caste reservations. For instance, if an SC ward is redrawn and a major population is moved to an existing non-SC ward, the existing non-SC ward will be automatically de-reserved, said civic officials.
A senior civic official said, “The calculations will have to change. Corporators who have been currently working to woo their voters may not have the same voters.”