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  Metros   Mumbai  12 Jan 2017  BMC polls to be held on February 21, results after 3 days

BMC polls to be held on February 21, results after 3 days

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Jan 12, 2017, 2:45 am IST
Updated : Jan 12, 2017, 6:17 am IST

The state election commission has enforced its code of conduct from Wednesday evening onwards.

J.S. Saharia, state election commissioner
 J.S. Saharia, state election commissioner

Mumbai: India's wealthiest municipal corporation — the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) — will go to polls on February 21 along with 10 other corporations across Maharashtra.

The counting for all the local bodies will be on February 23, after which the fate of major political parties including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Shiv Sena and Congress would be decided. The state election commission has enforced its code of conduct from Wednesday evening onwards.

That apart, 26 zilla parishads would also go to polls in two phases, on February 16 and February 21, with the results being declared on February 23. For the municipal corporations, the candidates would have to submit their nominations between January 27 and February 3. On February 7, the candidates can withdraw their nominations, said state election commissioner J.S. Saharia. The candidates are allowed to spend up to Rs 5 lakh on campaigning.

When Mr Saharia was asked about how the candidates would withdraw this money in the backdrop of demonetisation, he said that they must have made provisions already. “The candidates are not supposed to always pay in cash. The limit (born out of demonetisations) is on cash withdrawal. They must have made their provisions earlier,” the state election commissioner said.  

Expecting free and fair elections, Mr Saharia said that the commissioners of municipal corporations and collectors in districts would monitor the poll process. “Pre-election surveys and exit polls are banned from February 14 to February 21 midnight. Our emphasis is on a transparent election process and implementation of the model code of conduct. We will ensure that the voters are not influenced or lured during the election process,” he said.

The commissioner even stressed upon the maximum expenditure limit of Rs 5 lakh for A-class municipal corporations for any candidate. “The candidates will have to declare their individual expenditure, funds spent by their political parties and funds spent on them by their relatives and friends,” Mr Saharia said.

The current terms of the civic bodies in Mumbai, Thane, Ulhasnagar, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Nashik, Akola, Solapur, Amravati and Nagpur end in March. In the 2012 polls, of the 227 seats in the BMC, the Shiv Sena had contested from 158 seats and won 75, whereas the BJP had contested from 69 seats and won 32.

State election commission sets down guidelines:
Poll preparations
1. The state election commission is roping in airports, the railways, restaurants, Mumbai University and colleges to encourage people to exercise their franchise. A few hotels would also be offering discounts to those who vote, once the elections are over. The state election commission has sought help from the excise department to prevent the use of illicit liquor, and from the coast guard to avoid any untoward activity in coastal areas.

No room for mistakes
2. State election commissioner J.S. Saharia said that the candidates should prepare computerised nomination from the commission’s website and then submit it to the commission. The process would leave less room for mistakes.

Expenditure limit
3. The candidates will have to open a separate bank account to show their poll expenditure. Details of the expenditure will have to be submitted to the commission within a 30-day period. Panchaya Samittee candidates can spend Rs 2 lakh, while zilla parishad candidates can spend Rs 3 lakh.  Candidates for polls to A and A+ grade municipal corporations can spend up to Rs 5 lakh, those for B and C grade municipal corporations can spend up to Rs 4 lakh and D grade municipal corporation candidates have an expenditure limit of Rs 3 lakh. 

Tags: bmc polls, shiv sena, demonetisation
Location: India, Maharashtra, Mumbai (Bombay)