To prepare for the upcoming civic polls in February 2022, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has started the process of verification for delimitation (redrawing) of the boundaries of the 24 administrative wards.
The BMC currently has 227 corporators who are elected representatives across 24 administrative wards formed on the basis of the census conducted in 2011. The census for 2021 was delayed amid the pandemic. Allocation is undertaken to ensure that all electoral wards largely have the same amount of population. The state election commission had last month given permission to several municipal corporations including Mumbai civic body to go ahead with the delimitation process.
Meanwhile, political parties are doing their homework to nail it. BJP aims to wrest control of BMC, which has been Sena’s source of wallop and resources for three decades and set the stage for the Thackeray-led Maharashtra government’s defeat in the next elections or even the collapse of the three-party ruling coalition before that.
The BJP had given Narayan Rane the task to damage the Shiv Sena but somehow Maha Vikas Aghadi government was successful enough in taming him down. Rane is the choice of the central leadership; many believe that his time is over in Konkan, the BJP had given him the mission to damage the Shiv Sena in the BMC polls. But, the Shiv Sena is ready to counter him. If you read the statements of Shiv Sena leaders, they are of the opinion that Rane will help Sena to energize its cadres. The fatigue of the workers would go away as Shiv Sena workers like to counter aggressive politics.
The fight between the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to intensify but at this hour BJP needs to make extra efforts. Unleashing Rane against Shiv Sena was one of the most inane moves by the BJP. The recent episode of Narayan Rane’s controversial statement has given the Shiv Sena and the BJP a fresh issue before the civic body polls as both parties mobilized their workers across the state and showed their strength by conducting protests.
The BMC is the largest corporation in the country with an annual budget of over Rs 35,000 crore and has been single-handedly run by the Shiv Sena for over three decades since 1989. In the 2017 BMC polls, Shiv Sena and the BJP, who were alliance partners in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), had contested against each other with Shiv Sena winning 84 seats and the BJP winning 82 seats. The Shiv Sena formed a government with the help of independents.
However, in the past 10 months, BJP leaders feel that there is confusion over the way forward and that they would need a course correction. The local leadership is not effective enough to take the Sena head-on, there is a flip-flop on part of the party over the issue of alliance with the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and moreover, some controversies created by the party leaders have given the Sena leaders ammo to charge up the party workers and even BJP’s loyal support base.
The Congress Party, which plans to contest all 227 seats in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections on its own, has recommended three popular names for the post of Mumbai Mayor. The Strategy Committee has recommended the names of Bollywood actors Sonu Sood, Riteish Deshmukh, and fitness enthusiast Milind Soman as potential candidates for the Mumbai Mayor’s post. The incumbent chief Kishori Pednekar is a leader of the ruling Shiv Sena.
In its report, Committee opined that the face of BMC Mayor should attract the youth and bring the public to its side. The BMC election is scheduled to hold in February 2022. The municipal corporation is considered Asia’s richest civic body with an annual budget of nearly Rs.37, 000 crores. Shiv Sena has been a formidable force in the civic elections even when NCP-Congress was in power in the state. Having dominated the BMC since 1985, the Shiv Sena, eyes to retain it by jointly contesting with NCP and Congress against BJP.
Let us see if Sena can bring down BJP from 82 seats, and gain some more to their kitty, or BJP stands alone and competes successfully. Among all one cannot ignore Aam Aadmi Party, slowly and steadily they are making their presence in civic polls.