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Multi-member ward system in Maharashtra:

GS Paper 2

Topics Covered: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

 

Context:

The Maharashtra cabinet recently cleared a plan for multi-member wards in urban civic bodies, excluding Mumbai.

  • With this, the state has reverted to the system of electing multiple councillors or corporators from every ward in all municipal corporations and municipal councils in the state, excluding Mumbai.
  • The state government will promulgate an ordinance to make the amendment.

 

What’s proposed in Maharashtra?

In the new system, voters will elect a three-member panel in each of the wards in municipal corporation areas.

  • In municipal council areas, voters will elect a panel of two members.
  • In a single-member ward system, a voter votes for one candidate.

There will be no change in the number of wards or corporators; the wards will be bunched together only for the purpose of the election.

current affairs

 

How does it work?

Those contesting from the same party or alliance across the designated multi-member ward will campaign across the two or three wards, although they will file their nomination from individual wards.

  • If elected, each will represent the individual ward only. Voters, however, will be able to select candidates in their own ward as well as in the other wards clubbed together in the multi-member ward.
  • Although candidates from the same party/alliance in a multi-member ward will be called a “panel”, a voter does not really select a panel, but individual candidates, who can be from the same party or from different parties.
  • A voter is also entitled to select just one candidate. But for this, the voter has to make a written submission to the presiding officer of the booth. This is to ensure documentary proof in case a party or candidate goes to court questioning how a candidate got fewer votes than others.

 

Benefits associated with multi-member system:

  • It appears to help a party or alliance maximise its seats.
  • A party can offset weak candidates with strong ones in a multi-member ward.
  • The hope is that the strongest of the candidates will carry the day for the others in the “panel”, even though this is not guaranteed.

 

Issues and concerns associated:

Usually, in a multiple-member ward, no corporator allows the others to work properly and all try to outdo one another.

 

Insta Curious:

Have you heard about the Municipal Performance Index? Read about it here.

Sources: Indian Express.