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‘Unequal distribution of women’s wards could affect representation’

The coming civic elections will see a surge in women corporators, thanks to the 50% women’s reservation in civic wards.

mumbai Updated: Aug 22, 2011 00:40 IST
Kunal Purohit
Kunal Purohit
Hindustan Times

The coming civic elections will see a surge in women corporators, thanks to the 50% women’s reservation in civic wards.

However, what is worrying many is the way in which women wards have now been concentrated in some wards of the city, while the others have dismal representation of women.

Out of the 24 civic wards, there are about nine wards, which will have an overwhelming representation of women, whereas the there are an equal number where the representation is dismal.

The rest have more or less an equal representation of women, as far as the number of reserved seats is concerned.
Experts and corporators are now worried that this trend might lead to a distorted representation of women in the corporation.

For instance, the M-West ward, which consists of areas such as parts of Chembur, Trombay, Govandi and Mankhurd, has total eight corporators, six have been reserved for women, including caste and class-reserved. Since the other two are open seats, chances are that they might see women candidates too.

In contrast, S ward, which consists of Vikhroli, Kanjurmarg and Bhandup, has just three out of the total 13 seats, reserved for women.

Ranjeet Chavan, director-general, All India Local Self Governance, feels such reservations will hardly solve the purpose.
“For five years at least, the wards where there are hardly any women seats, will see a lull in women activism in
politics,” said Chavan.

“There has to be an equal representation in all the areas of the city. Only then will women representation in politics be meaningful,” he added.

One of the most active women corporators and chairman of civic health committee, three-time corporator Rajul Patel said that the lottery system would actually lead to dynasty politics.

“Because of the lottery system, about 30-40% of women seats will go to the wives and daughters of sitting corporators, who are currently representing these wards,” said Patel.

“Instead of reserving wards, the Election Commission should have mandated every party to put up 50% women candidates,” added Patel.

First Published: Aug 22, 2011 00:38 IST