MCD polls: More than 1.45 crore voters are eligible to cast their votes.
Delhi is witnessing a triangular contest in the civic polls on Sunday across 250 words as the BJP, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress fight the high-stakes elections. This is the first time that the elections for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) are taking place after three civic bodies were merged into one. More than 1.45 crore voters across the national capital are eligible to vote in the polls where over 1,300 candidates are in the fray. The city - ahead of the polls - has seen multiple face-offs between Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP and the BJP, which has been ruling the civic bodies for 15 years. The MCD -said to have around 15,000 employees - has an annual budget of ₹15,2000 crore, HT had earlier reported.
- In the triangular contest, stakes are high for all three parties. While the AAP aims to sweep the civic polls in a first after winning 48 of 272 wards in 2017, the BJP is fighting to retain the MCD. The Congress – which has been out of power both at the government level and in civic bodies – wishes to revive its electoral fortunes.
- Even though it’s the national capital, Delhi is marred with civic issues. From drainage to roads and landfill sites, the AAP and the BJP have sparred multiple times over citizens’ grievances. Air pollution is another issue which has got added to the list with the city facing deteriorating AQI (air quality index) annually as soon as the winter sets in.
- The BJP has a 12-point manifesto for the civic polls in which it has promised to do away with trade, health and factory licences and building pucca houses for slum dwellers. Another promise is the ‘jan rasois’ – or kitchen run by women – in the city that shall provide meals at ₹5.
- Meanwhile, Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP has promised to flatten the city’s landfills and clean up the garbage mess in its 10-point manifesto. In line with what has been pitched as the principle on which the party was founded, it has also said it will weed out corruption. Focus on municipal schools and hospitals, cutting the number of community dogs by encouraging people to adopt strays are other highlights of the manifesto.
- Will the Congress be able to leave a mark in these polls? The grand old party needs to have a favourable answer for itself at a time when a 3,500 km countrywide foot march is being held by its former president – Rahul Gandhi – with an eye on the 2024 national elections.
- Titled as “Congress Vision MCD-Meri Chamakti Delhi”, the party manifesto has gone back all the way to the Dixit tenure when it was last in power. Fight against pollution, financial self-reliance, and removal of garbage landfills are among the key focus areas.
- Multiple controversies have surfaced with the AAP pitted against the BJP in the crucial polls, which are being held in the same week as the critical Gujarat elections.
- Jailed Delhi minister Satyendar Jain’s videos from Tihar, allegations linked to Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in the excise policy case by the BJP and the expected pushback have been some of the controversies that have led to a standoff between the two parties.
- Arvind Kejriwal’s promise to the RWAs (Resident Welfare Associations) to give them the title of mini-councillors – if his party is elected in the MCD polls – has been called as a “trick” by the BJP.
- The BJP ran a high-blitz campaign with union ministers Nitin Gadkari Jyotiraditya Scindia, chief ministers Jai Ram Thakur (Himachal Pradesh), Pushkar Singh Dhami (Uttarakhand) and Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh) among the leaders urging voters to bring the party to power yet again. While the Congress campaign was bland, the AAP’s leaders juggled between two states – Himachal and Gujarat – where state polls are being held and Delhi.