A joint select committee of Karnataka legislators, which was tasked to finalise modalities regarding the restructuring of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), added 45 more city wards under the civic body on Tuesday. This takes the total number of wards in Bengaluru from 198 to 243.
Prior to the decision on Tuesday, it was speculated that the city will have 225 wards, to include some of the areas, which are currently outside BBMP limits, for the purpose of better governance.
“We have finalised the number of wards to 243 after we reached an agreement among all the members of the committee, including nine leaders from the Congress and JD(S),” S Raghu, CV Raman Nagar MLA, who heads the Select Committee, told TNM.
A huge disparity in the area and population among the 198 wards called from the delimitation exercise. A draft delimitation plan, which was released in March, within the existing area of BBMP and keeping the number of wards the same, was opposed by the Opposition and the public.
Now, the Delimitation Commission, headed by BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad, will decide on further how to divide the city to 243 wards. The Delimitation Commission will have Bengaluru Urban Deputy Commissioner, BDA (Bangalore Development Authority) Chairman and BBMP Special Commissioner Revenue (all IAS officers) as its members.
This development comes after the state legislature had recently passed the Karnataka Municipal Corporations (Third Amendment) Bill, 2020 for the purpose of increasing the number of wards. The amendment had said that the number of wards could be increased, with an upper limit of 250.
Raghu added that the delimitation process will be completed as early as possible so that BBMP elections can be conducted at the earliest. With this, it is expected that the BBMP polls can be held only in February at the earliest.
It may be recalled that the five-year tenure of the present BBMP Council had expired in September and the elections for the same had been deferred for the delimitation process.
Incidentally, in 2016, a committee led by ex-Chief Secretary BS Patil, appointed by then Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, had suggested breaking up the city into 400 wards which were part of five smaller independent councils.