The Shiv Sena, which is leading the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), is trying to postpone the upcoming civic polls under the pretext of the pandemic, the Opposition Bharatiya Janta Party has said.
“In the first wave of the pandemic, the Sena wanted to hold mid-term polls. But it was not successful due to the second wave. It then started the debate about ward delimitation claiming the BJP did it in 2017 for its benefit. But it was done on the basis of the 2011 census. And now using the second wave as a pretext, the Sena is trying to postpone the civic polls by two years,” said BJP MLA Ashish Shelar.
Mr. Shelar said that the ruling Sena had halted the census and even the voter registration has been delayed. “There could be a third wave of COVID and we believe that necessary precautions have to be taken. But elections have to be conducted taking precautions and as per the law,” he said.
Last week, the BMC had sought clarification from the State Election Commission (SEC) on conducting the civic polls due in February 2022. The SEC has given its nod. As the 2021 census has not been completed due to the pandemic, the voters’ list will be prepared based on 2019 State Assembly elections. In 2017, the BMC undertook a delimitation exercise, which is unlikely to take place this year as new census data is not available with the civic body.
The BMC has a total of 227 electoral wards. The Shiv Sena has 97 corporators while the BJP has 82. The Congress has 30 corporators and the rest of the seats are shared between smaller parties and Independents.