The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on September 29 objected to the delimitation commission's draft report flagging wide variations in the number of electorates in various municipal wards in Delhi and demanded equal distribution of voters across seats.
The AAP raised multiple objections to the recommendations made by the delimitation committee set up by the Centre to re-carve municipal wards in Delhi, and also demanded that the civic polls be held "at the earliest".
An AAP delegation comprising its MLAs Saurabh Bharadwaj, Durgesh Pathak and Adil Khan visited the Delhi State Election Commission and submitted the party's objections to the draft order on delimitation of municipal wards. "Delimitation exercise seems politically motivated," Mr. Bharadwaj charged.
The office of the delimitation committee had notified its draft order earlier this month, seeking feedback from political parties and the general public.
"The AAP delegation raised the grievances of the people of Delhi with respect to the (delimitation committee) report which mainly revolved around altering of demographics due to disparity of population and the wards with large population, leaving them susceptible to misgovernance and poor development,” the AAP said in a statement.
In a memorandum submitted by the AAP delegation, the Arvind Kejriwal-led party noted the delimitation committee has "disturbed most of the wards" without changing the number of the wards in respective Assembly constituencies.
"Certain areas have been moved from one ward into another ward," it said, adding, "The delimitation committee has to tell the people of Delhi the rationale behind this move." Mr. Bharadwaj, the party's chief spokesperson and the MLA from the Greater Kailash Assembly constituency, said the AAP delegation raised the party's concerns before the authorities with regard to the “illogical” re-carving of the municipal wards by the delimitation commission.
“We have said that when we have to bring down the total number of municipal wards to 250 from 272, why did you touch all the wards falling under 70 Assembly constituencies,” he told PTI.
To bring down the total number of wards to 250, Mr. Bharadwaj said, the delimitation commission should have identified just 22 Assembly constituencies which had 4-7 wards and reduced one ward from each of these constituencies by evenly distributing its population among the remaining wards of those Assembly constituencies.
In its delimitation exercise, however, the panel went on to “touch” all 70 Assembly constitutes and place one area falling in a ward in another.
Re-carving of the municipal wards in such a manner has led to huge variation of population in many of the new wards. "We asked for the logic behind re-carving of the wards in such a manner. But they could not provide any logical answer,” he added.
Mr. Bharadwaj said the AAP delegation demanded that all the municipal wards be re-carved with a uniform population so that governance remains smooth and development funds are utilised properly and evenly across all the wards.
“If the committee has its way, it will put every single densely populated ward into huge disadvantage over the others with lower population as development funds will remain fixed for each of the wards,” he added.
"Some of the newly created wards have a population around 90-95 thousands while the others only have a population of 30 thousands. Every ward gets the same amount of funds. This will create a problem in governing wards with a larger population," AAP's Rajinder Nagar MLA and in-charge of MCD polls, Mr. Pathak said.
“Many localities have been turned into isolated “islands,” as they are physically within some ward but on paper they are inside a ward many kilometres away,” he said.
"Every ward should have a uniform population so that the elected councillors are best placed to serve the citizens of their constituency," he added.
Mr. Pathak said the AAP appealed to the State poll panel to conduct MCD elections at the earliest. "People of Delhi are extremely fed up with the BJP. They have turned Delhi into a city of garbage. Delhiites want to be free of the corrupt administration of the BJP in MCD,” he said.