With the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party differing over the multi-member ward system for the municipal corporations, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and his deputy Ajit Pawar will now take the final call on the matter.
The system is likely to safeguard political prospects of leaders who fear elimination of their respective wards because of the 50% reservation for women. Having more than one member will facilitate incumbent corporator to contest again from the wards that he/she has been nurturing or representing for several years. The system was in place for some time in 2001, but was scrapped later.
On Wednesday, the state cabinet discussed the proposal that had come up in the last weekly meeting. A cabinet sub-committee that was formed last week put forth options to have either two or four corporators in each ward.
Cooperative minister Harshavardhan Patil batted for a four-member ward saying that it would accommodate women and other reservations. “Women who win from there will be politically secure and hence will work even harder to win the next elections. Also, candidates from open and other categories will have equal prospects.”
The cabinet decided not to have this system in Mumbai because of the mammoth sizes of the existing wards. “Mumbai’s wards have a population of more than 35,000 each,” said a minister. “Applying this system here will create confusion.”