The forthcoming civic election will not be cakewalk for male corporators. They are worried because the 2012 civic polls are likely to change the fate of many politicians across party lines.
Only 76 of the 227 seats — 33% — will be left for male candidates to contest from the open category for the civic polls as the state government recently increased the women's reservation quota up to 50%.
Currently, there are 93 women corporators, of which 76 contested from the 33% reserved quota in the 2007 civic polls; the rest 17 had contested from the open category.
Now, with the women's reservation quota hiked to 50%, the number of women corporators too will rise.
Of the 227 corporators, in the 2012 civic polls, 114 will be elected from the women's reservation quota and 37 others from scheduled caste, scheduled tribe and other backward class, taking the total to 151 women.
In May, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation will hold a lottery to reserve wards where only women will contest for the 2012 polls. “We will follow the election commission's directives. The lottery for the reservation of wards will be held in the last week of May,” said Aseem Gupta, additional municipal commissioner.
Senior corporators such as Ashish Shelar from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Sunil Prabhu from Shiv Sena, Prabhakar Shinde, former leader of the House in the BMC, Rajendraprasad Chaube, Ravi Raja, Upendra Doshi - all from Congress - are in the danger of losing hold in their wards.
"The next term would be a disaster," said a senior corporator on condition of anonymity because of protocol reasons. “The time has come to increase the number of seats. There should be at least 250 instead of 227 seats,” suggested Ravi Raja, senior Congress corporator from Sion. He added that if his ward would be reserved for women candidates, no female member of his family would contest. “Let the party decide, whether I should contest from other ward or not contest at all,” Raja said.
The BJP will be worst hit because its alliance partner Shiv Sena fields two-third of the total 227 seats. BJP has only 76 seats.
Prabhakar Shinde from the Sena, who has been a corporator for the last 16 years, said: “It is too early to comment. What can I do if my ward and those nearby fall in the reservation category?”
Rajendraprasad Chaube, Congress corporator from Dahisar, for the last nine years, has left everything to fate. “It will feel like I have been rewarded for my good karma, if my ward does turn out to be in the open category.”