As per the reservation criteria announced by urban development minister AK Sharma on Monday, the mayoral seat of Ayodhya, which was given the status of a municipal corporation for the first time in 2017, has been reserved for women candidates. Last time, it was unreserved.
Out of 17 mayoral seats, nine are reserved for women, OBC and SC candidates while eight are under general category. The reservation category of 16 out of 17 seats has changed and only Bareilly continues to be an unreserved one, like 2017.
Among other major cities, Prayagraj and Meerut mayoral seats are now reserved for OBC candidates and both Aligarh and Mathura-Vrindavan for OBC women.
Saharanpur and Moradad are other two seats reserved for women while Agra is reserved for SC women candidates. Apart from Lucknow and Bareilly, other unreserved seats are Ghaziabad, Kanpur, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Firozabad and Shahjahanpur, which will elect a mayor for the first time.
In 2017, BJP’s Sanyukta Bhatia defeated SP’s Meera Vardhan to become Lucknow’s first woman mayor. Before that, the seat was unreserved and BJP’s Dinesh Sharma won it for two successive terms.
Now, the schedule for the local bodies elections will be announced by the State Election Commission after the objections, suggestions and feedback of the residents are disposed of by the local administration.
In 2017, the direct elections for the post of mayors were held across 16 municipal corporations. BJP won 14 of them, while BSP won Aligarh and Meerut. At that time, 4.15 crore voters were staying within the urban limits. However, this time, 70 lakh more voters have been added and about 4.85 crore people will be eligible to vote.
To match up to the expectations of the citizens and provide them better urban services, the Yogi Adityanath government has expanded the limits of 10 nagar nigams and upgraded Shahjahanpur Nagar Palika (city council) to a municipal corporation. Through cabinet approvals, more than 100 new nagar panchayats (town councils) have been created during the past five years and limits of 43 nagar palikas have been also expanded to include more areas and population.
As a result of this consistent urbanisation and transmutation from rural to urban, the number of the urban local bodies in UP have gone up from 652 to 762. While residents staying within the 17 municipal corporations will elect mayors, the ones staying within 200 parishads and 545 panchayats will elect chairpersons (presidents).
Among the 200 nagar palikas, 121 have been reserved under various categories while 79 will be contested in an open manner. Similarly, among the 545 nagar panchayats, 328 have been reserved while 217 have been left unreserved.