The Karnataka government on Thursday announced the expansion of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the city’s civic body, to 243 out of 198 wards, raising hopes for an election in the municipality which has been without an elected council since September 2020.
“Government void Notification No. UDD 73 BBS 2020 (E), dated 06-01-2021, has enacted the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Act, 2020 with effect from 11-01-2021. Accordingly, see Notification No. UDD 17 BBL 2020 (Part I) (E), dated 21-01-2021, the Government has fixed the number of wards in Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike at 243. Further, see Notification No. UDD 17 BBL2020 (Part -I) (E), dated 2021-01-29, the government has constituted a committee under the chairmanship of the commissioner, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, for the demarcation of wards,” reads a government notification issued Thursday.
The BJP government, led by then Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and incumbent Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, had been heavily criticized for not holding the elections despite flooding and collapsing infrastructure, leaving citizens furious because there was no elected representative to address their grievances.
The ward delineation committee submitted its report to the state government on 09-06-2022 on ward delineation and the same was accepted which will redesign, carve out 45 new wards to accommodate the growth of the city and the increase in population to ensure equity of benefits and subsidies.
The notification will now be made public to call for any objections which will be considered by the government before a final notification and then the booking process will begin, according to people familiar with the developments.
The state government in May had told the Supreme Court, which is hearing a case, that elections could be held within 10 weeks, in which not only new districts would be drawn, but reserves for d Other Backward Classes (OBC) will also be included.
Bommai had announced the creation of a commission to study the political representation of the backward classes. Judge Bhaktavatsala heads the committee that removed IAS official CR Chikmath as a member.
The demarcation process comes amid allegations from the opposition, particularly Congress, that the BJP has manipulated ward boundaries to divide minority votes in certain pockets of the city and organize the whole of the city. exercise to help him secure not only a high number of seats on the BBMP board but also in next year’s assembly elections.
“We will get a hard copy of the notification and verify the ward boundary reshuffle and raise any objections in the coming days,” Ramalinga Reddy, senior congressional lawmaker and incumbent party chairman, told HT on Thursday.
He alleged that the state government failed to hold a single boundary committee meeting with the stakeholder and that all the reshuffling of the maps was done in the offices of MPs and BJP MPs.
BJP lawmaker S Raghu was the chairman tasked with formulating the new law for the BBMP, created in August 2020, which was tabled in the assembly in March of the same year.
The review was necessitated as several members of the assembly, including some within the BJP, demanded a detailed discussion of the provisions of the bill which include a five-year term for the mayor, the appointment of a chief commissioner and the granting of more powers to the zone commissioners. help decentralize power.
There was also a suggestion to split the BBMP area into three companies which Raghu says was not followed as they wanted Bengaluru to remain as one unit.
According to people familiar with the developments, some neighborhoods have more than 150,000 residents while a few others have only 25,000 to 30,000 people, making the process of distributing resources more even and equitable.
“They are dividing and curving outward which is good for BJP dividing minority votes and SC/ST,” Reddy told HT earlier.
The BJP has denied the allegations, calling on Congress to continue to politicize all issues for electoral gains. “There is no question of discrimination or confusion in the process. We have divided minorities everywhere. This was done in a fair and transparent way, which guarantees 50% booking for women,” Raghu told HT earlier.
Bengaluru has 28 constituencies and the three major political parties in the state – the BJP, Congress and Janata Dal (secular) or JD(S) – consider it important to hold power in the council for its count respective statewide next year.
The Congress managed to win 13 out of 26 seats in Bengaluru in the 2018 Assembly polls, while the BJP came second with 11. The JD(S) managed to secure two seats. Rajajinagar and Jayanagar did not go to the polls at the time, but those seats were later won by Congress.
However, a JD(S) and three Congress lawmakers defected to the BJP in 2019. R Roshan Baig, the former Congress MP from Shivajinagar, resigned from his post in July 2019 and did not challenge the bypolls in December of this year, in which party Rizwan Arshad managed to regain the seat.
Adding to the mix is the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which grew and recruited aggressively in Karnataka after its surprising success in Punjab.
“The government has accepted the boundary and will place it in the public domain for any objections. Once the government reviews it, a final notification will be issued,” said four-time caporator Padmanabha Reddy, who is now with the BJP.
He said the BJP would return to power as it managed to secure 101 seats out of the previous 198 under the Congress government led by Siddaramaiah in 2015.