AAP delegation flags ‘anomalies’ in draft delimitation report

Party demands recarving of wards with uniform distribution of voters; Congress flays Kejriwal’s ‘silence’ on major issues, BJP says AAP taking ‘sadistic pleasure’ in criticising ‘fair’ work   

September 30, 2022 01:18 am | Updated 01:18 am IST - New Delhi 

AAP MLA Durgesh Pathak said the delimitation exercise seems “politically motivated”.

AAP MLA Durgesh Pathak said the delimitation exercise seems “politically motivated”. | Photo Credit: File photo

An Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) delegation met the State Election Commission on Thursday and flagged “anomalies and discrepancies” in the recently published draft delimitation report. The delegation said that the process was “politically motivated” and demanded recarving of wards with uniform distribution of voters.  

The ruling party’s move drew flak from the Opposition parties, with the Congress claiming that the draft report is against “Dalits and minorities” and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal is “silent” on the issue. The BJP said AAP is in the habit of deriving “sadistic pleasure” by raising fingers at the “fair” working of statutory constitutional bodies. 

AAP in-charge of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) Durgesh Pathak said wards that have more people from lower income groups have been pushed further to the margins by increasing their population and wards where rich people live have been handpicked to make their population smaller. 

“The delimitation exercise seems politically motivated and variation of population sizes a huge concern. How can there be wards with a population of 30,000 and 90,000 at the same time,” he asked. 

Sources familiar with the drafting of the report said besides considering the average population per ward, the delimitation panel also looked at geographical features and contiguity of the areas, among other factors. 

The need for the delimitation exercise arose after the Central government notified the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act, 2022, which proposed the merger of the three erstwhile municipal corporations and a reduction in the number of councillor seats to “not more than 250”. The SEC published the draft report on September 12, providing three weeks (till October 3) for public suggestions and objections.  

Final report likely by mid-Oct.

The sources said the final proposal will be sent to the Centre between October 10 and 18 for approval after which the final report will be published. “There will be no rotation of wards, since this is a fresh exercise. First, the final delimitation report will be published in the official gazette and then a separate notification for the reservation of wards will be issued,” said a source.

 

According to the letter submitted by AAP to the election commission, the delimitation committee was required to reduce 22 wards, and the only logical way to do it was by identifying those Assembly constituencies which had 4-7 wards and reducing one ward from each of them by evenly distributing its population among the remaining wards of that constituency.  

“However, the committee has disturbed most of the wards in most Assembly constituencies without changing the number of wards. There were several constituencies where the number of wards was neither increased nor reduced, but certain areas have been moved from one ward to another ward,” the letter read.  

AAP said that the committee has to tell the people of Delhi the rationale behind this move.

“We have submitted comprehensive feedback to the committee. We have also appealed to the SEC to conduct MCD elections at the earliest. The people of Delhi are extremely fed up with the BJP. Delhiites want to be free of the corrupt administration of the BJP in MCD,” he said.

Delhi Congress chief Anil Kumar hit out at AAP stating that the latter’s submission of objections was a “mere formality” and that it was not keen on correcting the flaws in the report. 

He added, “Kejriwal came to power promising many facilities to Dalits and minorities, but after assuming power, he ignored them. Kejriwal has time only to indulge in political stunts, like inviting a Dalit family from Gujarat to have lunch with him, but does not care about the problems and difficulties of the Dalits and minorities of Delhi.”

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