Cong strongholds dropped from new BBMP ward plan

Congress strongholds dropped from new BBMP delimitation ward plan

The state government published a draft of the BBMP ward delimitation plan on Tuesday, ending months of delay and after facing censure from the High Court of Karnataka. 

The fresh list has eliminated several wards in the core areas and created new ones on the city’s periphery. The plan also consists of a fresh exercise of reserving wards. 

The draft, published by the Urban Development Department, left the opposition Congress party shell-shocked as two of its former women mayors are set to lose their wards. G Padmavathi and Gangambike Mallikarjun, who represent Prakash Nagar (ward number 98) and Jayanagar (ward number 153), respectively, in the current BBMP council, will lose their segments. 

That’s not all. Twenty-seven new wards have been formed in the areas added to the BBMP
a decade ago while several wards in central Bengaluru have been eliminated. 

Congress members were quick to protest the draft in the BBMP council, calling it “politically motivated and carefully crafted to suit the BJP’s agenda”. They suggested that the BJP government had “deliberately” eliminated the wards currently represented by the Congress corporators. 

Sources in the state government justified the draft, arguing that each ward has been constituted to keep the average population at 42,645 and that only wards having more population have undergone changes. While a few assembly constituencies are likely to have fewer wards, many others will feature more. 

Even though the draft list is based on the 2011 census, it has completely altered what was previously prepared by the Congress-JDS coalition government. In the earlier report, the government had stated it would not change the boundaries of 13 wards in central Bengaluru, including those represented by Gangambike and Sampath Raj (DJ Halli).

“But to the surprise of many, both the wards have been altered according to the BJP’s needs,” a senior Congress corporator alleged. 

Abdul Wajid, the leader of the opposition in the BBMP, said these “political” changes were expected. “They have deliberately dropped the wards represented by Congress corporators and redrawn the boundaries keeping in mind their vote bank. We will not be perturbed by this as the people of Bengaluru are aware of the work we did in the past four years. We are confident they will support our candidates regardless of these changes,” he told DH.  

Gangambike Mallikarjun, ex-mayor and corporator, Jayanagar

The draft list clearly shows that the changes are unscientific. But people are aware of our works and I am confident that they will elect me regardless of the change in the boundary of my ward.

G Padmavathi, ex-mayor and corporator, Prakash Nagar

During my mayoral tenure, I had closely worked with the local MLA Suresh Kumar (who is now the primary and secondary education minister) to improve all the wards in the Rajajinagar assembly constituency. I did not know that he would work in this way to destroy a Congress stronghold. I will look into category-wise delimitation to contest the upcoming BBMP polls. 

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