The results of the MCD polls made the fault lines in the Aam Admi Party visible. But this does not ensure Bharatiya Janata Party a political success in the capital city as it has to tackle a number of burning issues related to the lives of the Delhites.
The BJP won the third consecutive term in the MCD polls despite an expected and strong wave of anti-incumbency against it. The win, however, was not because of its credential in successfully solving local issues, but because of a national mood in the party’s favour set by a historic victory in Uttar Pradesh. The party acquired the aura of being an invincible force after the results in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election.
One of the main reasons for the BJP’s victory in the MCD polls was its ability to pass the buck to the AAP-led Delhi government in almost all pressing issues. But after its landslide victory, the party has four major burning problems to address before it arrives at its next goal: to attain power in the Delhi government. The issues are as follows:
I. Health and sanitation
The recent order of Anil Baijal, the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi to state hospitals to prepare themselves to fight the menace of vector-borne diseases like dengue should be seen as a gentle reminder to the BJP that it is time to set the euphoria of victory aside and get back to work.
Last year the capital city saw a major outbreak of vector-borne diseases where more than 3,000 people were affected and more than 30 died. The BJP cannot shake-off responsibilities in case of recurrence of such outbreak as cleaning clogged drains, fogging out mosquitos and destroying mosquito larvae are sole responsibilities of the MCDs led by the party.
The major challenge in front of the party in preventing vector-borne diseases comes from the MCDs themselves, as the sanitation workers often call for a strike in case of non-payment of salary and other dues. The BJP-led MCDs earlier attributed such financial crises to AAP-led government’s non-payment of dues. But this time around the BJP is unlikely to have this option as the party has assured the people of financial aid from the centre in such cases of non-payments by the state government. With the financial crisis in the MCDs far from being solved, the BJP is likely to have a tough time ahead in balancing public interest and that of the MCDs.
Satya Sharma, the outgoing mayor of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation told Firstpost: "We have to pay Rs 125 crores as monthly salaries to our 28,000 employees. But we receive property tax of Rs 120 crore a year." The property tax alone constitutes 45% of the MCDs revenue. The party has a daunting task of searching ways to increase source of revenue.
In addition to a paucity of funds, the MCDs have the legal mandate to fill vacancies in teachers post. The NGO Social Jurist that has been continuing a legal battle to fill up these vacancies mentions in its affidavit to the Delhi High Court that 9,65,000 students study in 719 schools run by the three MCDs.
Ashok Agarwal, the advocate for the NGO told Firstpost that there are nearly 6,000 posts vacant in all the three MCDs.
The MCD schools have fared badly in terms of providing education. Last year, the education department of Delhi government came up with the statistics that 74 percent students taking admission in high schools run by the Delhi government cannot read. Most of these students were pass outs of primary schools run by the MCDs.
The deplorable condition of the MCD schools was in news just before the civic body polls. Congress leader Shashi Tharoor had alleged that the condition in MCD schools are deteriorating and 50,000 students have left schools from the period starting from the year 2013 to 2016. BJP has the mandate to cater to the demands of more than nine lakh students when the MCDs themselves are in deep financial crisis.
Despite the fact that both Aam Admi Party and BJP have put up a pro-poor face, the issue of housing to the slum dwellers in the capital city is dealt with least importance by both the parties. As AAP’s victory in 2015 Delhi Assembly polls was attributed to the support from the 49 percent of Delhi’s population who live in the slums, its defeat in recent MCD polls is attributed to their withdrawal of it.
Though the AAP-led Delhi government has been putting up a pro-poor face, in reality, it has curtailed Rs 469 crore from housing schemes under the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission in its two and half year long tenure, despite having a budget surplus.
The pace of project implementation in Delhi has also been seen in poor light, as nine out of 16 housing projects under JNNURM remain incomplete even beyond their respective stipulated period.
Out of the target of building 55,424 homes for the poor under this scheme, only 31,424 could be completed putting the success rate at as low as 57 percent, although stipulated period to complete all the projects was over by 31 March 2017.
The present AAP government’s performance is dismal in implementing the project as only 288 of the 31,424 completed flats have been occupied by beneficiaries till now and only one project is completed in three years. The AAP-led dispensation has failed to accommodate beneficiaries even in the flats that were completed before 2013.
Strangely enough, the BJP too failed in taking up this issue of gross failure on the part of the AAP-led Delhi Government.
The capital city that accommodates 695 slums and jhuggi-jhopri clusters and 1,797 unauthorised colonies require urgent relocation or standard housing facility so as to meet the challenge thrown by vector-borne diseases from time to time. As per the Delhi Economic Survey, 22 percent of the slums do not have a toilet and only 30 percent of them use septic tanks.
IV. Public Grievances
The three BJP-led MCDs fared the worst in public grievance redressal in the previous two terms. In the last two-and-half years, 45,000 public grievances have remained unresolved in the MCDs.
Firstpost obtained data related to public grievance management of 24 government departments and agencies, where the MCDs top the list in terms of pending cases.
As per the records maintained in the system, the total number of complaints concerning the MCDs in the last two-and-half years was 50,983, out of which 5,588 number of cases were resolved satisfactorily, leaving more than 45,000 cases pending.
Deepak Dua, a Delhiite, lodged a complaint about a problem of stagnation of water in Vijay Vihar Phase 2 in the year 2015 in North Delhi Municipal Corporation’s website. Since his complaint fell on a deaf ear, he uploaded it on a portal. But it remained the same even after that.
To ensure good governance and it’s future success in Delhi the BJP MCDs have to deal with these issues at the earliest.
Updated Date: May 03, 2017 21:03 PM