Bengaluru

The new delimited wards: outdated on arrival?

Presently, the ward sizes vary from an average population per ward of 28,541 in Shivajinagar to 1,00,347 in Yeshwanthpur assembly constituencies in Bengaluru.

Presently, the ward sizes vary from an average population per ward of 28,541 in Shivajinagar to 1,00,347 in Yeshwanthpur assembly constituencies in Bengaluru. | Photo Credit: FILE PHOTO

The new ward delimitation exercise is supposed to fix the disparity in ward sizes and population in the city. On paper, it does, but the ground reality will be vastly different, drawing criticism that the new delimited wards will be outdated on arrival. 

Presently, the ward sizes vary from an average population per ward of 28,541 in Shivajinagar to 1,00,347 in Yeshwanthpur assembly constituencies. Outer zone wards have a larger area and population than core city wards. The ward delimitation theoretically fixes this. “We have carried out delimitation increasing the number of wards to 243, with a uniform average population of 34,700 with a maximum variation of 10%. There are 45 new wards created in the same area,” said Chief Civic Commissioner Tushar Giri Nath.

While the new Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Act, 2020 provides for expansion of the BBMP area by one kilometre from the existing boundary, the committee has chosen not to expand the Palike’s boundary. 

Population growth

However, the ground reality of the new wards will be vastly different, as the delimitation exercise is based on the 11-year-old National Census, 2011, when the city’s population was 84 lakh. BBMP presently works on an extrapolated population of 1.34 crore, a whopping 60% jump, which is unaccounted for in the ward delimitation exercise, making the new wards outdated on arrival. 

Bengaluru Navanirmana Party, a new party with exclusive focus on Bengaluru, has come out with a proposal to use the latest electoral list as the basis for ward delimitation to ensure the ground reality to be reflected in the new wards. “Not only has the city’s population grown exponentially over the last decade, but its growth is more skewed spatially in the outskirts compared to the core city. So, if we take the 2011 census as the basis, we end up with skewed wards yet again,” said Srikanth Narasimhan, Founder and General Secretary of BNP. 

V. Ravichandar, former member of BBMP Restructuring Committee, said that given how the growth of population is at a higher rate in the outer zones while some areas in the core city may have also seen a drop in its population, opting for a uniform ward size would itself make the wards uneven in a short time. “Ideally, we need to have a lower average population for a ward in outer zones seeing a fast paced growth and a higher average population for a ward in the core city, so that a few years down the line, we bring parity between wards,” he argued. 

However, Chief Civic commissioner Mr. Giri Nath said that the civic body’s hands were tied, as per rules, delimitation of all electoral constituencies has to be carried out based on the most recent census data available. “Ideally we should have got the National Census, 2021. However, due to the pandemic, census exercise has been delayed and we have had to rely on the 2011 census,” he said. 

Delimitation carried out by RSS, will challenge it if not corrected: Congress

Political opposition Congress has come down heavily on the delimitation of wards. “Instead of officers, the exercise was carried out by RSS in Keshava Krupa and the officers have blindly signed off on the draft without application of their mind. Instead of the convenience of the people, the entire exercise seems to have had only the interest of ruling BJP in mind,” alleged Ramalinga Reddy, Working President, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee. 

“Once the draft is notified, we will go through it carefully and file our objections. If our inputs are not taken and suitable changes made, we are thinking of challenging the delimitation legally as well,” Mr. Reddy said. 


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Printable version | Jun 9, 2022 9:13:48 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/the-new-delimited-wards-outdated-on-arrival/article65511429.ece