Who stands to gain with single-member ward systems in PMC, PCMC
PUNE The state election commission on Wednesday asked government to prepare a draft report for delimitation of wards under the single-ward system in 18 municipal corporations including Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. The new system – a deviation from current four-member ward system in Pune - can lead to massive defections, political leaders observed.
Some Congress leaders said a single-member ward is more beneficial to the Maha Vikas Agadi (an alliance of Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena ruling the state) than the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in power in the PMC. Leaders from the local BJP unit demanded two- member wards in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad.
NCP city unit president Prashant Jagtap said, “NCP is ready to contest elections under any structure. But we are hoping that the state government would have two -member wards for Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad.”
Political observers noted that those with a strong network of workers can be beneficiaries, while others wanting to ride their party’s image can suffer under the single-member system.
For BJP and NCP, the new system may not be very beneficial, while for Congress, which is struggling to get a foothold in Pune, it can provide some relief.
NCP sources however, maintained that the party is considering that if the two-member ward structure is allowed, it would be more helpful for the party to win maximum seats.
A senior BJP member from the city accepted that the single and two-member ward structure is more helpful for the MVA. The BJP wants to fight the PMC elections on the basis of the party’s overall image, instead of relying on candidates.
The BJP currently rules the PMC with 99 corporators, while NCP has 42, Congress has 10, Shiv Sena has 10 and the MNS has 2 corporators in the house of 164 members.
A BJP leader, speaking anonymously said, “Now that the MVA is ruling in the state, they will make the ward system convenient to them. There are some pockets in each city, which are favourable for specific parties. So the ward structure makes a difference.”
With the merger of 23 villages under PMC, the tally of corporators is likely to go up to 166. As per the reservation system for local bodies, 50% of wards have to be reserved for women. The BJP, with a strong women’s wing, may benefit under this system.
Congress and Shiv Sena are both comfortable with single-member wards in the city. Congress leader Aba Bagul and Sena leader Prithviraj Chavan said, “We are happy with the present single-member ward structure and are ready to contest. The state government will take the final decision.”