Corporators sceptical about redefined Wards that are panels now

Elected representatives say merging two wards to form one panel may affect development work in area; most parties welcome 50 pc quota for women
There is hardly four months left for the civic poll, and corporators in the city are far from pleased with the alterations the State Election Commission (SEC) has made to their electoral wards by redefining it with their changed jurisdiction.

Not a welcome change: The Pune Municipal Corporation  building.
The final redefinition of wards for the upcoming municipal elections
in February is yet to be published. File pic

Most of the political parties have, however, welcomed the SEC's decision to increase the quota for women from 33 per cent to 50 per cent for the upcoming civic elections. The civic polls will be held in February next year. Anil Shidore, state general secretary, MNS, said: "Although it's too late to discuss this issue, I feel it's better to have smaller wards in keeping with the development of each ward. There are some major problems with the redefinition of some wards like Katraj, Aundh and Baner where the rule of 'natural boundaries' is not followed, and the wards have been connected artificially."

According to the 2011 census, election is supposed to be held in 152 electoral wards as against the current strength of 144 corporators. After the redefinition of wards, there will be just 76 panels. Each panel has been formed after merging two existing wards. The total number of elected corporators to the civic body will be 152, as each panel will have two candidates. Also, there will be just 76 male corporators, as 50 per cent will be reserved for women.

Shidore said that the instead of such huge wards it will be easier for corporators to develop a rapport with the voters in a smaller one. NCP corporator, Bhimrao Kharat of Viman Nagar ward, is also unhappy with the redefinition of wards. "The whole redefinition has been conducted in a wrong manner. Under this redefinition, my area has been broken into many small areas and connected to the Tingare Nagar ward. In the same way, many parts of Kharadi and Tingare Nagar have now been shifted to my area. Now, I have to restart work in these areas. It will also take time to know the grievances of the voters in the new area," said Kharat.

To be discussed
In the meantime, the State Election Commissioner Neela Satyanarayan said the matter of a few wards would be discussed, where adjustments could be made. "SEC can't break the natural boundaries on the basis of which the electoral wards have been redefined," she said. "However, the SEC has given directions to the municipal commissioner that taking into consideration the number of objections that have been received till date, the final redefinition of electoral wards will be published later."

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