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MBMC polls on August 20, online system to file nominations

Monday, July 17, 2017
By Suresh Golani

Elections to the 95 member-Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) will be held on 20, August. Taking yet another leap into the digital age, candidates unlike the previous election cycles will now have to submit their nomination papers and all the other relevant documents in a specific format of the online system. As per the schedule announced by state election commissioner- J.S.Saharia, nominations can be filed between July 26 to August 2 (except Aug 30 which is a Sunday).

While scrutiny of nomination forms has been scheduled on August 3, candidates can withdraw their nominations till August 5 and allocations of election symbols will  be finalised on August 7. A day after the voting process between 7:30 am to 5:30 pm on 20, August (Sunday), counting of votes will begin at 10 amon August, 21.

However, the election code of conduct has come into force with immediate effect since the poll date announcement. Having a total populace of 8,09,378, the strength of electorate stands at 5,93,354. Of the 95 seats, 48 seats have been reserved for women. As per the new system, an MBMC panel would have four wards. Earlier, two wards constituted a panel. The number of panels has gone down to 24 ( 23 four members and 1 three member panel) from 47.

While 4 seats are reserved for Scheduled Caste (2 for women), 1 seat is reserved for Scheduled Tribe (Woman), 26 seats for Backward Castes Category (13 for women) and 32 only for women aspirants. This has translated into 48 seats inwhich onlywomen candidates will contest. Led by the BJP-Sena alliance, the term of the existing civic body ends on August 27. However, this time around the saffron friends who till now shared power in the MBMC has turned into bitter rivals in a cutthroat battle to achieve supremacy over each other.

Paid news on EC Radar, panel formed to keep watch!
To maintain transparency and a level playing field for all contestants, a high-powered committee has been formed by the state election commission (SEC) to keep a close watch on publication of paid news ( promotional content) masquerading as news and social media content during the elections to the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation which has been scheduled on August, 20.

Headed by the municipal commissioner –Dr Naresh Gite, the panel will have other six members on board including the deputy civic chief-Vijay Kumar Mashaal, a representative fromthe office of the Superintendent of Police (Thane Rural), District Information Officer- Annirudh Ashtputre, nominated a representative of Press Council of India- S.Ramakrishnan, returning officer of the concerned prabhag and MBMC PRO- Rajkumar Gharat.

Paid news or paid content are those articles in newspapers, magazines and the electronic media, which favours an individual or an institution which has paid for it. The news which is much like an advertisement but without the ad-tag has raised electoral concerns because the media has a direct influence on voters. The panel which will not only keep a watch on paid news and comments on social media platforms but will have powers to scan any publicity material and take appropriate action in case of violations.

Moreover, the amount of the paid news will be added to the candidate's expenditure as the payment modes of such publicity material violate tax laws and election spending laws, stated officials. The panel has started monitoring news content immediately after the announcement of poll dates and consequently the imposition of the model code of conduct from Saturday afternoon.

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