Parties ramp up their campaigns with Delhi civic polls likely in December

BJP and Congress to highlight the graft allegations against city govt.; AAP to seeks votes on its ‘Delhi Model’ of governance; delimitation committee examining feedback on its draft report, to send final proposal to Centre by October 18

September 26, 2022 01:36 am | Updated 04:57 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Election posters on a wall in Delhi. File

Election posters on a wall in Delhi. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu photo library

With the draft delimitation order of the city’s municipal wards published earlier this month, the three main parties — AAP, BJP, and Congress — have stepped up their preparations for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) election, which is likely to be held around the first week of December.

The BJP and the Congress have launched aggressive campaigns around the corruption allegations against the AAP’s city government.

On the other hand, AAP is raring to go to the polls with its campaign centred around its “Delhi Model” of governance.

Battle lines drawn

Sources in the BJP say the party will scale up its attacks on AAP, with more complaints of corruption against AAP’s leaders likely to surface over the coming days.

“The excise scam, a scam in the construction of classrooms in government schools, a scam in the Delhi Waqf Board, a scam in the procurement of DTC buses — all this is just the tip of the iceberg,” said a senior Delhi BJP leader.

Also Read | How new excise policy turned into a political battleground in Delhi

“We will tell citizens about a multi-crore scam even in the Delhi Jal Board. The people will soon realise that AAP’s work and its advertisements exist only on paper,” the leader added.

An AAP leader sought to counter the BJP’s charges by alleging that the MCD was reeling under the damage caused to it by almost two decades of corruption perpetrated by the BJP

The AAP leader added that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s image and AAP’s “Delhi Model”, with its proven record on healthcare and education, were potent enough to sway the civic polls in the party’s favour.

“The MCD is in its present derelict state because the money, supposed to ensure the welfare of Delhi’s citizens, has been embezzled by corrupt BJP leaders. The people have seen how we transformed the Delhi government hospitals and schools. They now want the MCD’s dispensaries, hospitals and primary schools to also be improved,” the leader added.

Meanwhile, the three-member delimitation committee is examining the suggestions and objections to its draft delimitation order, which was made public on September 12. The final proposal will be sent to the Centre by October 18, said a source.

Delimitation on track

“The final report will be sent to the Centre for its approval and publication in the official gazette. Currently, State Election Commission is carrying out a physical verification exercise to ascertain if any anomalies exist in boundaries of wards, number of polling stations, etc.” the source added.

The source also said that the committee has received feedback from the Congress, while suggestions and objections from the BJP and AAP are awaited.

Observing ‘anomalies’ in delimitation exercise

All three parties have pointed at “anomalies” in the delimitation exercise.

“The draft report seemed to favour the political interests of the BJP and AAP, as the wards represented by the Dalits and the minority community have been tampered with,” alleged Delhi Congress chief, Anil Kumar.

Sources in AAP pointed at anomalies in the populations of some of the proposed wards and described the delimitation exercise as opaque.

“Previously, the population was uniformly spread across the wards. But the committee has arbitrarily changed the demographics of the wards. Some wards now have a population of fewer than 35,000 people, while some wards have as many as 93,000 people. This process is devoid of logic,” said an AAP source.

The Delhi BJP unit’s general secretary Harsh Malhotra also alleged anomalies in the population size and “physical boundaries” of the proposed wards.

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