Officials fear the new delimitation exercise will delay BBMP elections by at least 8 months
The recent decision of the state government to increase the number of BBMP wards to 243 from the existing 198 is almost certainly going to see the elections for the new civic council postponed for at least 8 months, as delimitation of wards and revision of the voters’ list will have to be done all over again.
A draft notification had been issued on March 2 and a final notification was issued on June 23. Subsequently the KMC Act of 1976 was amended to increase the number of wards and a gazette notification was published on August 3.
The Palike was to publish a revised voters’ list on October 17 and a final list by November 30 after allowing time for public objections. However, another round of ward restructuring and voters’ list revision could take a minimum of 6 months. A senior IAS officer noted that thereupon the civic council elections would take another two months.
Currently, wards have been notified according to an average population of around 42,000 per ward. But if the number of wards is increased to 243, they will have to be restructured based on a population of 35,000 per ward. The IAS officer felt the process would take at least 30 days, and a revision of the voters’ list would take another 30 days, allowing for public objections.
Meanwhile, the High Court is scheduled to hear petitions against the delay in the civic polls on October 12. The State Election Commission may request the High Court that the elections be conducted as per the current voters’ list, while the government may request that the polls be held only after restructuring of the wards.
As per the 74th Amendment to the Constitution, the newly elected council must convene within six months of its dissolution. Given this factor, the High Court is likely to suggest that the polls to be conducted as per the voters’ list now being prepared. “There have been instances where the High Court has ordered a quick election,” one official said.
But the decision of the government is final in the matter of ward restructuring, which the HC will take note of. Another official said that even if the HC orders civic elections on the existing parameters, the government has the power to dissolve the elected council again.
No increase in BBMP limits: Raghu
Meanwhile, Joint Advisory Committee chairman S Raghu said that even though many MLAs are demanding an increase in BBMP limits, the civic body has not been able to provide adequate infrastructure for the 110 villages added to it over a decade ago. Hence, even if the number of wards is increased to 243, the BBMP limits will not be increased and new villages will not be added. Raghu said Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has agreed to this proposition.