Ahead of BMC Polls: Lottery in 219 wards to reserve OBC, general women seats

WITH THE Supreme Court allowing 27 per cent Other Backward Classes (OBC) quota in local bodies elections, the BMC on Friday drew a lottery in 219 of its 236 wards to reserve seats for OBC, OBC women and general women categories.

Seventeen seats, which were reserved for the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) in the May 31 lottery were excluded in Friday’s exercise.

As per the new reservations, while 156 of the 236 wards are eligible for the general category, 77 of them are reserved for women. Of the 63 reserved for OBC category, 32 are reserved for women. While 15 wards are reserved for SCs, eight of them are meant for women. Two are for reserved for STs, of which one is reserved for women.

The lottery for wards was held given the SC order allowing up to 27 per cent OBC quota in local bodies. On May 31, a lottery was drawn for SCs, STs and general category seats for women without the OBC quota. The bigwigs who saw their wards’ reservation changing include former BMC corporators like BJP’s Prabhakar Shinde (ward 109), Samajwadi Party’s Rais Shaikh (220) and Congress’ Ravi Raja (182).

The ward of former corporator Amey Ghole (184), who is the treasurer of Yuva Sena, has been reserved for women. The ward of Yashwant Jadhav (217), the BMC Standing Committee chairperson, has also been reserved for women.

The Congress on Friday demanded that the recent delimitation and demarcation exercise, where BMC wards were redrawn and reserved, be scrapped. Former Congress corporator Ravi Raja said the party is planning to move court against the new reservations.

The lottery drew flak from all parties, including the BJP, with party MLA Mihir Kotecha alleging that the data submitted by the BMC election officer to the State Election Commission (SEC) regarding OBC reservation is false. “We had pointed out to the authorities how false data was taken into account for making some seats as default OBC seats,” Kotecha said.

“Reservation lottery was earlier conducted in May. Later, according to SC directions and revised SEC guidelines, a lottery was conducted on Friday to determine the reserved wards for OBCs. Reservation was already fixed for SCs and STs, including women, in May. So, on Friday, a lottery was drawn for OBCs,” the BMC stated.

Officials said that BMC will invite objections/suggestions from the public till August 2 on the new reservations. The exercise will be completed by August 5. In February, the BMC – then controlled by the Shiv Sena – had conducted the delimitation exercise and increased the number of electoral wards from 227 to 236 while changing ward boundaries. As per the new ward boundaries, island city, western and eastern suburbs each got one additional ward.

According to officials in BMC, the boundaries of 90 electoral wards were changed. The BMC is currently being run by municipal commissioner Iqbal Chahal.

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