Elections in the city’s civic wards will be held on December 4 with the results to be announced on December 7, the state election commission (SEC) announced on Friday, sparking what is likely to be a bitter tussle between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on a host of issues such as sanitation, the capital’s towering dumps, corruption and corporate taxes.
The announcement came more than eight months after the election was called, but was dropped when the Union government decided to dissolve the former Delhi Municipal Corporations and combine them into one Delhi Municipal Corporation (MCD). , a process that also involved the reduction of the rooms from 272 to 250.
State Elections Commissioner Vijay Dev said that with this announcement, the Model Code of Conduct for Elections now comes into effect and nominations of candidates will start from Monday (November 7).
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The elections will pit the incumbent BJP, which has controlled the capital’s municipal corporations for the past 15 years, against the AAP, which seeks to turn an anti-incumbent factor into its advantage.
For the 14,673,847 registered voters, their choices will be largely influenced by pressing civic issues, such as the city’s garbage and landfill management, corruption, rising taxes during the unification process, pollution and degradation of civic infrastructure, including the settlement’s roads, congestion, the health and education system.
“Over the past 15 years, the BJP has spread garbage across the city and created mountains of garbage. On December 4, the people of Delhi will vote to clean up the city, make it hygienic and beautiful. This time Delhi will select AAP from the municipality,” AAP leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi.
Over the past month, the AAP has targeted the BJP over the garbage problem and the alleged plans to create 16 new landfills across the city – which has been repeatedly denied by the MCD and the BJP.
Delhi BJP, on the other hand, raised alleged corruption issues in the Delhi government and investigations opened in the last five months, as well as the current air pollution crisis.
“We will seek to vote on the sewa (service) provided by the BJP. We enter this electoral battlefield with the blessing of God and the party is ready for the elections. The AAP has not been able to clear the air of Delhi or the Yamuna River and the party that came on the board of honesty is now engaged in a host of scams and scandals,” said Delhi BJP leader Adesh Gupta.
The Electoral Commissioner said preparations for the ballot were undertaken at a record pace. He added that out of 250 MCD wards, 42 have been reserved for Scheduled Caste candidates, half of which will be reserved for SC candidates, while an additional 104 wards will be reserved for female candidates, leaving 104 wards to be contested as general seats.
The SEC said more than 100,000 election workers will be deployed to 13,665 polling places, which will be equipped with 55,000 electronic voting machines. Dev said the spending cap for each candidate has been raised by ₹5.75 lakh in the 2017 elections for ₹8 lakh for the 2022 elections.
After unification and the conclusion of the delimitation exercise mandated by Parliament, the number of wards in the MCD decreased by 22 wards. The parallel unification process has also resulted in higher taxes for residents of East and North Delhi, where rates have now been brought down to the same level as those in South Delhi.
The process has led to a sharp increase in taxes and levies such as business licenses, sanitary licenses, storage fees and property tax.
The BJP has attempted to counter this impact by projecting the Samriddhi Property Tax Amnesty Scheme under which defaulters are allowed to pay pending taxes for the past six years, and amounts from 2004 can be cancelled.
Originally, the MCD elections were to be held in April.
The last two civic elections were held in three separate civic bodies – North, South and East MCD. Out of 272 seats spread over three companies in the 2017 MCD elections, the BJP won 181 seats, the AAP won 49 seats while the Congress took third place with 31 seats.
A senior city official explained that apart from the reduction in the total number of wards, each ward in Delhi will now have between 40,000 and 89,000 voters with seats spread across 24 constituencies undergoing major changes in terms of name and size.
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The Union Home Ministry accepted and notified the final boundary report through two notifications on October 17. A total of 23 wards were removed and one ward was introduced.
Dev said the delineation was done with all factors in mind, but the case is pending, a reference to the congressional petition challenging the process, and the court’s final verdict may have a overriding effect on the voting plan announced by the committee.
Sanjay Kumar, a professor at the Center for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) said that the assembly elections in Gujarat and the MCD elections in Delhi were announced by the two different constitutional authorities, so no motive cannot be attributed to the simultaneous polls, but it seems to be a clear effort to pin down the PAA as they have limited resources, money and manpower and they could have paid more attention to each of these elections if they had been held separately. On the difference in the holding of elections between April and December, Kumar said that if the elections had been held then, the PAA would have benefited from the euphoria after the victory in the Punjab assembly elections. . “Compared to the elections at the time, the AAP is experiencing some setback as it will need to channel its resources much more effectively.”