The Opposition parties in the BJP-led municipal corporations of North, South, and East have been irritated by the State Election Commission’s (SEC) decision to postpone the release of dates for the civic polls in Delhi.
The poll panel had postponed the announcement due to a letter from the Centre suggesting the union of the three municipal corporations.
The opposition parties, the AAP and the Congress, have called the Centre’s intervention a “time-buying exercise” that will not benefit the BJP. The move by the Centre has set the way for an “at least a year-long project” to improve the image of local corporations that are directly under the Union government and governed by hand-picked officials.
“These three urban authorities [DDA, Delhi Cantt., and NDMC], which are directly controlled by the Centre via bureaucrats, wield enormous power in Delhi.
“It would not be too far off the mark to argue that Delhi would have two parallel governments after the municipal corporations are merged – not just because they will operate from the same city but also because they will hold more or less equal powers,” a senior BJP leader said.
Manoj Tyagi (AAP), the Leader of Opposition (LOP) of the East municipal corporation, and Prem Chauhan (AAP), the Leader of Opposition (LOP) of the South civic body, claimed that the Centre’s intervention was a “pre-planned move” that disrupted the SEC’s preparations to announce the civic election dates.
The South MCD’s current budget deficit is roughly Rs 500 crore, which is better than the North and East MCDs. The whole budget deficit is estimated to be around Rs 2,000 crore.
Yogendra Singh Mann, the former director of the North MCD’s press and information branch, said it’s not only about money, and that unification has a slew of additional benefits. “First and foremost, there would be a healthy balance of resources, income, and expenditures. North currently experiences salary delays on a frequent basis; however, after this, there will be uniformity,” he stated.
He also stated that planning would be improved because there would be a centralised authority in charge of parking fees, property taxes, and new city initiatives.