As AAP gears up to fight the incumbent BJP in Delhi’s three MCDs, a lot of local issues are being highlighted by both sides. The 15-year hold of the BJP might be broken
The national capital is gearing up for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections. According to media reports, the state election commission is planning to hold elections in the second or third week of April. To increase voter turnout, the commission might hold elections on a Sunday.
There are 272 wards in the three MCDs. In this exercise of ground level democracy, around 1.5 crore voters would decide the fate of candidates in their respective wards. There are around 81.3 lakh men and 67.7 lakh women eligible voters in the capital.
North Delhi Municipal Corporation, South Delhi Municipal Corporation and East Delhi Municipal Corporation, which have been with the Bharatiya Janata Party, are going to witness stiff competition from the Aam Aadmi Party, according to political experts.
In the previous MCD polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party registered an impressive victory returning to power in the three corporations by winning a total 181 of 272 wards. The closest rival, Aam Aadmi Party, managed to win only 49, while Congress won 31 wards in the elections.
Ahead of MCD polls, State Election Committee has issued an order last month for de-reservation of existing municipal wards and reservation of new wards on rotation for specified categories.
According to the order, the number of wards reserved for SC category in the three corporations are NDMC (20), SDMC (15) and EDMC (11), proportionate to the population, or 19.38%, 14.15% and 16.58% respectively.
Delhi Congress has started distributing application forms to the ticket seekers. In this form, the party has asked, details of their social media presence, civic issues in their wards and what are their plans to win elections. Party has also asked a non-refundable amount of Rs 5,000 while depositing forms.
On the other hand, with an eye on the MCD elections, Delhi BJP has opened ‘Namo Sewa Kendra’ in East Delhi last week. The party says it is planning to open around 70 centres like this in the capital and these ‘kendras’ will cater to people from JJ (Jhuggi Jhopri) colonies. The idea behind centre is to provide services related to Aadhar card and e-shram cards. Motto behind opening these centres is to spread awareness about schemes launched by the Modi Government.
Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta, while talking to media, explained the idea behind these centres. These centres are meant to ensure 24 lakh JJ dwellers get the benefits of and information about various welfare policies and programmes of the central government. The party is planning phase-wise opening of these centres; these centres will be opened in over 30 slum clusters in different parts of the city.
All political parties are trying to woo votes and a blame game has started brewing between major rivals AAP and BJP. AAP Delhi MCD in-charge has recently alleged that more than 7 million work hours were lost due to several strikes by the municipal staff to protest against non-payment of salaries in 2021. AAP is also accusing the three MCDs of being financially unstable, which is the reason for harassing employees by not paying them on time.
While talking to media, Pathak said for the last 15 years, BJP is ruling MCDs in the capital and in this time, they have only brought problems for the employees. Not only MCD employees, teachers and doctors working in MCD- run schools and hospitals are also troubled.
On the other hand, Delhi BJP spokesperson Parveen Shankar Kapoor blamed the Delhi government, pointing out that the reason behind financial stress is delayed funding by the AAP government, which is directly affecting the functioning of the MCDs.
AAP is also accusing BJP of giving away MCD schools to NGOs. In a press conference, Durgesh Pathak alleged that BJP is trying to close MCD schools all over Delhi. They are now in a mood to sell 40 North MCD schools at throwaway prices. BJP shut down 34 North MCD schools last year and is now going to shut down 40 more schools this year.
He also pointed out that North MCD schools’ admissions have gone up from 2.9 lakh to 3.03 lakh. So why are BJP leaders shutting the schools down saying there are no students to teach? BJP is conspiring to give away all these schools to its own people by registering bogus NGOs in their names.
The blame game has stated and campaigning strategies are being discussed. Time would tell who will control the local bodies in the national capital.
(With inputs from PTI)
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