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Mumbai: BMC readies for polls amid Covid, seeks panel advice | Mumbai News – Times of India

MUMBAI: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has sought directives from the State Election Commission (SEC) on conducting the municipal election in 2022 in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The election to the country’s richest municipal body is scheduled early next year but officials said that in view of the pandemic, new directives were important from the SEC.
“There may be a need to increase election booths in the city keeping in mind the need for social distancing in the wake of Covid. Currently every booth is known to have around 15,000 voters, who come to cast their vote throughout the day.
However, the same in the current situation does not look feasible,” said the official.
The BMC on Friday had an internal meeting with its own team on what needs to be done. Ideally, prior to the election, the BMC redraws every municipal ward boundary. Each of the 227 wards had an average of 54,000 voters during the 2017 election.
The SEC had asked the BMC to divide the total population of 12.44 million (as per the 2011 census) with the number of wards, that is, 227.
“However now the delimitation is to be done based on the latest population figures. In the wake of Covid, however, it was not possible to even conduct the census for the year 2020-21,” said the official, adding that a meeting with the SEC is fixed for Monday.
Ravi Raja, corporator and opposition party leader in the BMC, said that the civic body will have to be extremely careful. “We saw what happened in states like West Bengal recently where elections were held and Covid cases went up, and therefore the BMC will need to be careful before it decides anything,” said Raja. Prior to the BMC election in 2017, on October 3, 2016, the lottery for reservations was held for the 227 wards and the delimitation of wards was announced. While 50% seats among these are reserved for women candidates, from the 50% as well there is parallel reservation in the Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and OBC category.


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