Municipal corporation elections don't always assume national importance. But the way the chief players in elections to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) are fighting it out, it seems national political discourse hinges on this very election.
The control of Delhi is important for the BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for obvious reasons, as also for the Congress that ruled the capital not so long ago.
For BJP, Delhi seems to be the only exception to a wave that the party is currently enjoying. For AAP, Delhi is the key to its immediate raison d’etre, especially after its ignominious defeats in the Punjab and Goa Assembly elections.
And for the citizens reeling under life-threatening epidemics like dengue, chikungunya, swine flu, malaria, etc. at the turn of every season, it’s important who do they give the reins of the city to.
Election Date: Sunday, 23 April
Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCD)
The union territory of Delhi is divided into three statutory urban regions: the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), and the Delhi Cantonment Board.
Three MCDs —North, South and East are governed by the three corporations, while the NDMC is the municipal council of the city of New Delhi which is governed by a council with a chairperson appointed by the central government, and includes the chief minister of Delhi.
The civic matters of the Delhi Cantonment area are looked after by the Delhi Cantonment Board (DCB). The Delhi Cantonment Board functions directly under the control of the Ministry of Defence.
Even after delimitation of the wards the total number of wards remains at 272. While South MCD and North MCD have 104 wards each, East MCD has 64 wards.
MCD came into existence on the 7 April, 1958 under the Act of Parliament. Prior to that DMC (Delhi Municipal Committee) was the principal civic body of Delhi. The 1993 amendment of the Act brought about fundamental changes in composition, functions, governance and administration of the corporation.
The census data of 2011 is the basis of the delimitation exercise. Last delimitation exercise for municipal wards was done in 2007, when the one MCD was trifurcated into three MCDs. The number of wards have also increased from 136 to 272. The last delimitation exercise took place on the basis of 2001 census data and the average population per ward has been kept at 50,000.
Main political parties in fray
The major political parties in the fray are BJP, Congress, AAP, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the new Swaraj India —the political front emerged out of socio-political movement Swaraj Abhiyan, a splinter group of AAP. For the last ten years, MCD has been ruled by BJP.
- BJP: Though Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari is leading the campaign, the de-facto face or brand leader is Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The BJP is expecting to sweep the election keeping Modi at the front.
- Congress: Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken
- AAP: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal
- Swaraj India: It’s national president Yogendra Yadav
Party position in three MCDs
- North MCD: BJP has 59 councillors, Congress 29, the Bahujan Samaj Party 7, while others have 9 seats in the House.
- South MCD: BJP leads the tally with 44 members, followed by 29 of Congress, five of the BSP while others have 26 seats in the House.
- East MCD: BJP - 39 seats, Congress - 19 and BSP - 3.
The key issues in this election are corruption in MCDs, lack of cleanliness, accumulation of garbage on streets and colonies, choked drainage system, liquor vends at residential areas, pollution, inordinate delay in salaries to MCD workers, poor parking facilities and failure in deliverance.
While, AAP has alleged that due to the BJP, the conditions of MCDs have deteriorated due to rampant corruption, the BJP has directly blamed the AAP government in Delhi for the condition stating it to be Kejriwal’s functioning.
Congress has blamed both the AAP and the BJP. Swaraj India has appealed the voters with the tagline Saaf Dil, Saaf Dilli (Clean heart, Clean Delhi) and has blamed all three major political parties – BJP, Congress and AAP — for the poor functioning of MCDs.
Race for the last lap
As the election campaigning has ended, now the parties and candidates are busy in closed-door meeting to chalk out plans for the D-day — on how to manage the booths and mobilise voters of respective localities.
Swaraj India president Yogendra Yadav has written a letter to Kejriwal demanding resignation of the chief minister, if the party fails to secure even 137 seats (50 percent). AAP has claimed that it would bag 218 seats.
Updated Date: Apr 22, 2017 22:28 PM