In a letter to Madan signed by city BJP chief Mangal Prabhat Lodha, and BJP MLAs Ameet Satam, Atul Bhatkhalkar and Ashish Shelar among others, the BJP said that there was a big difference between the draft made by the BMC officials which was submitted to municipal commissioner Iqbal Chahal and the draft which was forwarded to the SEC.
“We have expressed concerns on political interference from the ruling party in Maharashtra in the process of drawing ward boundaries…there has been political interference and a proposal suiting the needs of the ruling party in the BMC as were as the state was prepared outside, sent to the municipal commissioner’s office and submitted by the BMC as its official proposal to the SEC. The proposal has shifted census enumeration block numbers from one ward to another specifically in the western suburbs only to suit the needs of a particular party and has been monitored and prepared by a cabinet minister,” the letter said.
According to senior Sena leaders, a section of sitting and former corporators have identified around 30 electoral wards where boundaries were modified before the 2017 BMC elections and which reportedly damaged the Sena’s winning prospects and favoured the BJP.
The BJP urged the SEC to ensure that a fair process is followed for drawing the ward boundaries.
“We will not take this lying down. The BMC has sent a draft which was made by a former BMC officer and this was forwarded by the BMC to the SEC. The original draft was sent to the BMC chief on October 24, and it was replaced by the Sena’s draft on October 26. This Sena draft was sent to the SEC on the same day. We will sit on a hunger strike if no action is taken on our complaint,” BJP MLA Ameet Satam said.
“This is an illegal draft which was made by the Shiv Sena. We will object to the draft when it is put out for suggestions and objections. The BMC has not followed the rules and norms. The BMC did not prepare its own draft but instead submitted a draft which was made by the Shiv Sena through a private agency to the SEC,” BJP MLA Atul Bhatkhalkar said.