National

Multi-member ward system a ploy to rig polls: Raj Thackeray

A file picture of Raj Thackeray.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Lashing out at both the Uddhav Thackeray-led tripartite Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government and the erstwhile BJP government, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray said the frequent changing of the ward structure was nothing but a ploy on part of the ruling powers to rig civic body and municipal council polls.

Speaking in Nashik on Thursday, the MNS chief hit out at the MVA government’s re-introduction of the multi-member ward system for all municipal councils and corporations [barring the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)].

Ruthless power grab

“From where did this bizarre [multi-member ward] system originate in Maharashtra? And why only here? The intent solely appears to be a ruthless power grab on the part of the ruling politicos who want to indulge in wanton corruption…But then, why trouble the people? Why should they be forced to press three buttons to choose three corporators in a ward?” said Mr. Thackeray, accusing the MVA of making a mockery of the election process.

He urged the State Election Commission to take action on the issue.

The decision to re-introduce the multi-member ward system, which was approved during the MVA Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, marks a reversal of the government’s previous decision of December 2019 of having a single-member ward system in municipal corporations and councils.

The previous Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government introduced a multi-member ward system for all municipal corporations in 2016, which was reversed when the MVA was formed in 2019.

Chastising all the major political parties for holding the public hostage with such changes, Mr. Thackeray urged the people to move the courts and the Election Commission in this regard.

“What is the aim of the government behind these changes? Earlier, it was a two-member ward system. Then it became a four-member system, from four it became a single-member system, and now, from one, it has become a three-member ward system. This game has been going on for the last 10 years and yet, we keep watching it with open eyes instead of raising our voice,” he said.

Mr. Thackeray observed that in a multiple-member ward, no corporator allowed the other to work properly and all tried to outdo one another.

“One corporator proposes something and the other opposes it. If people want to meet a corporator tomorrow regarding a particular problem, who should they meet? The people must take this matter with the courts because if we [the MNS] go to court, a political colour will be given to our actions,” the MNS chief said.

Need for Sharia-like law

Criticising the MVA for failing to control the rising crime against women, Mr. Thackeray said there was a need to introduce a stringent Sharia-like law to check serious crimes against women.

“I have said this earlier as well…there is a need to introduce a Sharia-like law to instil fear among criminals and would-be offenders… There is no fear anymore…thanks to this government, there is utter chaos everywhere,” he said.

The Maharashtra Congress executive meeting on Thursday passed a unanimous resolution to limit the multi-member electoral panel to two.

Party State unit president Nana Patole said the party has received feedback from local leaders across the State that it should be kept limited to two.


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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 9:19:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/multi-member-ward-system-a-ploy-to-rig-polls-raj-thackeray/article36632453.ece

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