The announcement of the 13 reserved wards for the scheduled caste (SC) and scheduled tribes (ST) candidates for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections - scheduled in February 2012 - sprung up quite a few surprises on Friday.
Casualties were big names such as the civic standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale, leader of the house Sunil Prabhu, and BEST committee chairman Sunil Shinde. The seats belonging to both Shewale (ward no 136) and Prabhu (ward no 47) have been reserved for ST candidates. So, in order to retain their corporator's post, they will now have to contest from other wards.
Of the 11 wards reserved for the SC category candidates, six have been reserved for women. In the two reserved seats for ST category, one each will be for men and women.
While the formal lottery for the remaining 216 seats will be held on August 10, the SC and ST wards were announced as the reservation is carried out on the basis of the SC and ST population of the ward as per the census and not according to the lottery system.
Apart from the two stalwarts of Shiv Sena, the party will also have to look for other options for Manmohan Chonkar and Kashinath Tharli, as their wards have been reserved for the SC category candidates.
About the division affecting their prospects of winning, the Sena men said that they will toe the party line and act as per the orders of Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) group leader and MLA Mangesh Sangle, BJP corporators Rukmini Kharatmol and Vishwanath Maske, Congress corporators Devidas Borse, Prescilla Kadam, Mangala Gaikwad and Rabia Iqbal Shaikh will also have to surrender their wards that have now been reserved for the SC category.
Of the 227 seats, 77 are for the open category candidates. The 50% reservation mandate has reserved 114 seats for women, in which 31 seats are reserved for OBC candidates, 6 for SC, 76 for open category and one for ST candidate. "There will be at least 114 women corporators. Also, depending on the lottery results for the 77 open-for-all seats the number could increase," said Aseem Gupta, additional municipal commissioner.