The Aam Aadmi Party, Mumbai on Tuesday submitted a letter to the Maharashtra State Election Commissioner UPS Madan, which stated that the delays in declaring the ward delimitations and reservations for the Mumbai Municipal Elections 2022 puts the ruling parties in a position of unfair advantage and compromises the citizens' right to a free and fair election.
In spite of specific directions by the State Election Commissioner to the BMC - to begin the delimitation of ward boundaries in August 2021, the final draft of rectified ward boundaries was submitted by the BMC only in the last week of October 2021.
The letter further stated that the Maharashtra Cabinet subsequently has taken a decision to increase Mumbai’s municipal wards from 227 to 236, which will inevitably cause further delay for the municipal elections, which are scheduled for February 2022.
"The aforementioned delay shall adversely impact the possibility of a free and fair election - which warrants sufficient time for all candidates to know the final boundaries and reservations of their respective wards to liaise with their electors, and not just the candidates of the ruling parties in the State and the Centre – who may have access to information regarding the revised boundaries by virtue of belonging to the parties in power," the party mentioned in letter.
The incumbent parties’ prospective candidates have been observed actively campaigning in their respective wards already. "It is our concern that the mandate of Article 14, which provides for Equality before the Law, shall be violated due to the delay in notifying delimitation, the final electoral roll, and the reservation of Municipal Ward boundaries," the letter read further.
"It is imperative, for a free and fair election, that sufficient time and opportunity be given to voters to get duly acquainted to all candidates and their respective party manifestoes. The failure to guarantee any such reasonable period has put all political parties other than the ones in power at a gross disadvantage, and we believe that the SEC is no longer being objective. We demand that the SEC ensure that reasonable time is afforded to all stakeholders in the upcoming Municipal Elections after the final ward boundaries and reservations are declared, so that the end goal of a free and fair election is guaranteed for all," said Preeti Sharma Menon, National Executive Member and Mumbai Prabhari.