Sujay Mehdudia

In view of the prevailing resentment over the issue of sealing, demolitions, skyrocketing prices of essential goods

NEW DELHI: With strong widespread resentment prevailing in the Capital over the issue of sealing, demolitions and skyrocketing prices of essential commodities upsetting many a middle class budget, a section within the Congress is now building up pressure on the party leadership seeking postponement of elections to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi scheduled for early next year.

The 134 municipal wards in the Capital are presently in the middle of the delimitation exercise and are likely to be re-organised during the next two months. On the other hand, the delimitation exercise for Lok Sabha and Assembly seats has been completed and the report notified. However, it is felt that since uncertainty hangs over the fate of the delimitation exercise for the Lok Sabha and Assembly seats, it would not be possible to re-organise the municipal wards till the air is cleared.

"In view of the continued uncertainty over the implementation of the Delimitation Commission report, the delimitation exercise for the MCD wards will not be completed on time and therefore it would provide an authentic excuse to the Congress to postpone the polls for at least six months by superseding the present set-up and hope for a better atmosphere in the Capital," said a senior Delhi Minister.

Congress leaders also point out that the Omesh Saigal Committee set up to consider the future shape of the MCD is also yet to submit its report to the Union Home Ministry. It has sought two extensions already and has yet not completed the exercise. It is expected that the Committee will take some more time to come out with the report and is understood to be against any split in the Corporation. With the Saigal Committee report yet to come, a question mark hangs over the future of the Corporation and what shape it will take. This, the Congress leaders feel, could also form the basis for seeking a postponement of the civic polls.

Sensing the anti-Congress sentiment among the masses and the outcry over the sealing and demolition of illegal commercial premises in the Capital under the directions of Supreme Court, a strong view seems to have emerged within the local party to postpone the polls in order to save the leadership from the embarrassment of a rout. Although no leader is willing to go on record to highlight this viewpoint, a majority of them fear that if the present situation continues like this the party will have a bad time at the hustings despite the local BJP unit being in disarray.

However, any postponement of the polls is unlikely to find any support from Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit who is strongly in favour of splitting the Corporation into smaller bodies to make it accountable and efficient.

Despite strong opposition from DPCC president Ram Babu Sharma to the move, Ms. Dikshit has maintained that the present set-up is inefficient and could not provide perfect amenities to the people of Delhi and therefore should be disbanded by splitting it.