Published On : Tue, Jul 21st, 2015

NMC Elections: Aspirant contestants in a state of dilemma

All aspirants to contest of forthcoming NMC elections are in a state of dilemma as to whether the forthcoming elections will be based on ward-system or panel-system (prabhag paddhati). It is for the reason that over a decade in all 25 municipal corporations across the state, save Mumbai MC, the elections are held on pannel-system. Nevertheless, the state cabinet, about six months ago, had decided that all municipal corporation (MC) elections would be held on ward-system, but no notification has been issued in this regard so far.

It may be recalled that the former Maharashtra Chief Minister late Vilasrao Deshmukh had abolished the ward-system for MC elections and introduced pannel-system in which two or three members (corporators) would come elected from each pannel (prabhag). In ward-system elections woman-candidate used to get defeated, and so, the system of contesting elections was altered. But, in the pannel-system elections there cropped up complaints against elected members about inertia on their part, as they were not doing developmental works to the expectations of their electors (citizens).

The pannel-system suffered a set-back in which the elected members were seen throwing the responsibility on each other. And so, the present state cabinet took a decision to get the elections held on ward-system, though not implemented. It is the BJP government which took the decision of getting elected only one member from each ward.

This being the situation, the aspirants of contesting elections are in a state of dilemma as to whether the ward-system will be re-allowed to exist or pannel-system will continue. If the pannel-system remained the members of small parties and independents would be out of race, but if the ward-system came into existence the number of contestants would increase.

According to knowledgeable sources, the ward-system is not in favour of Congress because of dissidence within the party and their turning rebels. So it favoured pannel-system.The BJP never suffered from visible party dissidence, so it was comfortable with pannel-system. After the BJP has come to power, the aspirants of contesting elections have grown in large number.
As the time has changed, even the BJP is apprehending groupism and rebellion in case the ward-system in the MC election is re-introduced, and so its senior leaders are in favour of pannel-system, and they want that instead of two there should be three member-provision for each pannel.

It may be mentioned here that during the Winter Session of State Legislature last year, the state cabinet decided to hold MC elections on ward-system. It was expected that the necessary notification would be then issued for ward-system, but it could not be done. The proposal for ward-system was not moved even during the budget session as well. Perhaps, it may not be moved during the ongoing Monsoon Session in Mumbai, said the sources. NMC elections are due in February 2017. Perhaps, the ward-system may get green signal during the the Winter Session of State Legislature in December, here.

Rajeev Ranjan Kushwaha (