The upcoming Delhi MCD election on 23 April 2017 promises to be one of the most keenly contested and closely watched political events of the month. With 272 seats up for grabs, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Indian National Congress (INC), the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), and the newly formed Swaraj India will be locked in a tight contest.
The National Capital Territory of Delhi is spread over an area of 1,484 square kilometres and has five civic bodies – the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), Delhi Cantonment Board (DCB), East Delhi Municipal Corporation, North Delhi Municipal Corporation, and Sest Delhi Municipal Corporation. The last three municipal corporations were part of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi till its trifurcation in 2012. The trifurcation was brought about to improve the efficiency of the services provided by these bodies. These three are now going to polls. The three municipal corporations together account for about 96 percent of the area and population of Delhi making these polls very important for the people of the capital. Let us take a look at the key issues that shall decide the mandate in the Delhi MCD elections.
Pollution And Cleanliness – Air pollution has remained Delhi’s bane for quite some time now. Going by the city’s air quality, Delhi has been ranked the most polluted city in the world. Despite implementation of various pollution control measures (including the Delhi government’s Odd-Even scheme) the situation only seems to be getting worse. Predictably, the Swaraj India party is trying to make its maiden breakthrough on the back of commitments that promise a clean, pollution-free, and environment-friendly Delhi. Swaraj India has promised to control dust and particulate matter in the city by implementing new measures including sweeping and washing city lanes and streets, placing imposition on burning of trash and plastics, cleaning mosquito breeding dens to control vector-borne diseases, and increasing the green spaces in the city.
Waste Management And Sanitation – Apart from pollution, the lack of an efficient waste management system is one of Delhi’s greatest concerns. With a population of about 25 million, Delhi is among the most populated cities in the world. The city produces over 9,000 metric tonnes of trash each day of which some 40 percent goes untreated. The open landfills in highly populated localities such as Okhla, Bhalaswa, and Ghazipur pose a great threat to the health and hygiene of the dwellers. Taking advantage of this concern, the Congress has promised to implement “Mission Zero Landfill Delhi”, if elected. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has promised to implement a better waste segregation and management system leading up to enhanced composting of biodegradable waste.
Taxes And Services – The BJP manifesto for the Delhi MCD polls promises a number of services apart from “transparent and corruption free” rule. The Amma canteens providing subsidized food for the poor residents were a great hit in Tamil Nadu. Recently, UP CM Yogi Adityanath had flagged off a similar facility in the state. BJP promised to take a cue and provide INR 10 meals to the poor residents of Delhi city. The Deendayal Antyodaya Rasoi Yojana will provide these subsidized meals, says the manifesto. The party also promised that no new taxes or any hikes in current tariff will be introduced, if elected. This comes following the AAP accusation that BJP will bring in newer taxes and cost of living in Delhi may go up if the party is reelected.
Corruption Free Civic Bodies – The AAP has promised to rid the civic bodies of their bureaucracy and corruption if elected. Delhi CM and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal recently promised that if elected with a majority the party would turn Delhi into a world class city like London. The anti-corruption agenda, youth and women issues are likely to feature high on AAP’s promises ahead of the Delhi MCD Elections 2017.
The Delhi MCD Elections are very important for all the parties contesting the polls. Governing the civic bodies is seen as a stepping stone to winning the legislative assembly elections of Delhi. It remains to be seem where the voters repose their trust.