Moments before announcement of dates EC postpones MCD polls

The development came after 10 years when, in 2012, the then Chief Minister Sheila Dixit had trifurcated the erstwhile MCD into three parts citing reasons relating to good governance.

MCD Headquarter (File Photo)

New Delhi: Minutes before the announcement of the MCD elections, the State Election Commissioner (SEC) of Delhi postponed the polls as it received a communication from the Centre seeking suggestions on conducting the elections for a unified corporation.

The development came after 10 years when, in 2012, the then Chief Minister Sheila Dixit had trifurcated the erstwhile MCD into three parts citing reasons related to good governance. The MCDs, however, reported shortage of funds in day-to-day running and various sections started demanding their unification. There are 104 wards each in the North and the South DMCs while the EDMC has 64 wards.

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S K Srivastava, State Election Commissioner, said, “I have received some communication from the central government at 4:30 pm hence not announcing dates right now. We were about to announce the dates, but now it will take another 5-7 days to announce them.”

“The government perhaps desires reorganisation of MCDs. May be they could re-unify the three corporations, so we have to think over it, and then announce MCD poll dates. We will examine their advice,” he said.

Srivastava said, “If the three corporations are unified, then we will have to decide accordingly. We are taking legal opinion on the issue.”

The announcement of the SEC to defer the dates for conducting municipal elections witnessed exchange of words between leaders of Opposition and ruling parties.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal questioned the SEC, and said the decision was taken under pressure. “Can central govt “direct” any EC to delay/cancel any elections? Under which provision? Are these “directions” binding on EC? Why is EC buckling under pressure?´ Kejriwal tweeted.

Deputy CM Manish Sisodia said, “The term of the Houses of the civic bodies is going to over and there was a scheduled press conference where the dates were supposed to be announced. Now, under pressure from the BJP at the Centre, the dates have been withheld.”

Sisodia said that never since Independence has an “election commission acted in this manner”. “It (election body) has bent, and knelt down before the BJP in the Centre after getting scared of it (BJP),” he said.

Delhi BJP President Adesh Gupta said that the BJP never fears elections and the “organisation always stands prepared for elections”.

“Ten years ago, MCD was trifurcated into three parts but it did not help in betterment of administration and in fact, caused economic crisis in the civic bodies,” he said.

The BJP president further said that the biased attitude of the Kejriwal government towards the civic bodies has increased problems. “In the last seven years, the Kejriwal government has withheld Municipal funds to weaken the civic bodies’ administration. The Centre has decided to intervene into this matter to improve its functioning,” he said.

Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president Anil Kumar said that both BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party are trying to postpone the Municipal elections fearing defeat. “We demand the Delhi Election Commission to ensure that the elections should be held on time in a free and fair manner,” he said.

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