BMC polls: Your vote today can make Mumbai better tomorrow
This is your chance to choose the people who decide how the city is developed in the next 20 years with the Development Plan 2034 set to be passed this yearmumbai Updated: Feb 21, 2017 00:06 IST
Are you fed up with the city’s pothole-infested roads, lack of footpaths, unclean water or the lack of space for your children to play in? Are the sights of open defecation and unclean drains adding to your already stressful lifestyle?
If yes, then the only place you can find any solutions is the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). And today, you have the authority to elect 227 candidates who can work for a better quality of life for you and your family. This is also your chance to choose the people who decide how the city is developed in the next 20 years with the Development Plan 2034 set to be passed this year.
On Tuesday, you have the right to choose your leader who will represent your ward’s immediate needs for the next five years. Whether you are satisfied with your current representatives or want them to be replaced, you must go to the polling centre and exercise your franchise.
However, the voter turnout in the civic elections has been dismal. It was just 44% in the 2012 civic election as opposed to 54% in the 2014 Assembly elections and around 55% in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. In 2007, only 46.05% voters participated in the civic polls.
Citizen activists say the civic election is as important as the Assembly or Lok Sabha elections because it directly impacts your surroundings. James John, an AGNI activist, said, “The general election is still about policies that affect you in an indirect way. Corporation election is where the issues affect you every single day, be it bad roads or contaminated water.”
Your elected representative to the civic body or corporator is responsible for monitoring civic amenities in your electoral ward. He/she can also put up proposals for civil works, complete works using their funds and put up proposals in the corporation that will benefit the city.
In addition, every corporator gets Rs1 crore as infrastructure fund and another Rs60 lakh as the corporator’s discretionary fund in the beginning of every financial year for carrying out civic work in your electoral ward.
Beyond individual duties, your elected representative will also be part of the civic governance team. She or he will become a part of the ward committee whose main functions are to address citizen concerns related to basic civic amenities. All corporators become a part of the civic general body, which takes policy decisions on the city’s governance. Individual corporators can be elected to the civic standing committee to handle the civic body’s finances or other committees such as improvements committee and the education committee. These statutory committees take a call on policies related to the city’s development plan, augmenting water supply, open spaces, pedestrian movement, allowing mobile towers, redevelopment, gardens, waste management, widening drains, pipelines and road repairs.
Sitaram Shelar, from the Hamara Shehar Mumbai Abhiyaan said, “People think their vote does not make a difference. There is also frustration owing to the lack of good candidates for the corporation election.”
AIMIM, which is the new political entrant in the civic polls is looking to gain ground in the state’s major cities after it surprised the existing political parties by winning two Assembly seats in the 2014 elections.