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Delhi MCD Elections: Key Issues Being Raised by BJP, AAP, Congress

Mukund Jha |
Translated by Aditi Nigam
NewsClick takes a look at the issues being raised by the three key parties, their strengths and weaknesses.

New Delhi: The announcement of Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections on December 4, has spurred the three major parties  -- Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress – into action with all three busy placing their pieces on the election chessboard.

The AAP, which is running the Delhi government, will be going among the people for the first time, seeking power in the corporation as well. The BJP, which has been ruling the MCD for long, is looking to return to power, cashing in on the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Forgetting its dismal performance in the Lok Sabha and the Assembly, the Congress, too, will be trying hard to capture power in the corporation.

The AAP is claiming that it is due to alleged involvement in corruption that BJP has decided not to field its sitting councilors in the upcoming MCD elections, just as they did in 2017.

Durgesh Pathak, AAP’s in-charge for MCD elections, has even accused BJP councilors of “pocketing” Rs 35,000 crore.

While AAP is making the “garbage mountain” in Delhi its main issue, BJP has been attacking the Delhi government for pollution and alleged corruption of their ministers. On the other side, Congress is seeking votes on the basis of the work done by its last Chief Minister, Late Sheila Dikshit, who served the capital for three terms.

While voting is to be held on December 4, counting will be done on December 7. Although the MCD elections were to be held in April, the decision of the ruling BJP at the Centre to integrate the corporations was delayed.

As per the State Election Commission, the model code of conduct has come into force in the national capital from Friday. The process of filing nominations will start from November 7 till November 14. Scrutiny of nomination papers will be done on November 16, while the candidates would be able to withdraw their names till November 19.

Let's take a look at the issues being raised by  the three key parties, their strengths and weaknesses.

AAP: Banking on BJP’s ‘Failure’

The AAP is banking on BJP's ‘utter failure’ in the corporation and the work done by the Arvind Kejriwal-led government in Delhi.

The party has been aggressive about the corporation elections since it won a massive mandate in the Punjab Assembly elections. Kejriwal and his party have also been consistently raising questions over the intentions of BJP and its government at the Centre for postponing the MCD elections. However, after the election announcement, that big issue that it is raising is the rising mountain of garbage on the national capital.

The BJP has been ruling MCD for the past one and a half decades. Even after this, the problem of potholed roads, clogged drains and cleanliness remain a problem for common people. Apart from this, the corruption prevalent in the corporation is also being made a big issue by Kejriwal's party. Along with this, the anti-incumbency factor could
also create a favourable atmosphere for AAP.

Apart from this, AAP is banking on Arvind Kejriwal’s face. They are also expected to derive benefits of popular schemes, like subsidised electricity and water and free bus rides for women. Apart from this, AAP leaders are going to the people, flagging the “positive” changes made in government schools and public health services. Recall that in
the last Assembly elections, AAP got a thumping victory, bagging 62 seats out of 70.

However, if we talk about the weaknesses of AAP, which was born out of an anti-corruption movement, the movement, it has become very much like some political parties that it had earlier attacked.  There are similar reports of alleged corruption in the party and some of its leaders. Also, like in the previous corporation elections, BJP can
field new faces, but AAP is yet to find a counter to that.

BJP: Once Again, Using ‘Modi Crutch’

The biggest challenge before BJP is Arvind Kejriwal. The saffron party is yet to find a counter face. Talking about Delhi BJP, there is no ‘acceptable’ leader like Kejriwal in the party, which has been seeing inner turmoil over an effective state leadership. Names such as state president Adesh Gupta to Manoj Tiwari have been tossed by their supporters, but right now it seems that the party is in the mood to enter the MCD elections, banking solely on the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Another big challenge for BJP, which has been winning MCD for three consecutive terms, lies in dealing with massive anti-incumbency.

Apart from this, BJP has not yet been able to pick holes in Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal's work in education, mohalla clinics and schemes like subsidised electricity and water.

However, BJP has a strong grassroots organisation and large election machinery. Delhi BJP has held Panchparameshwar Sammelans at every polling booth, in which five workers were appointed for each booth.

Apart from this, BJP has ‘brand Modi’. And to corner AAP, it is raising issues like the alleged liquor excise scam, central agencies’ probe into alleged charges against Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and minister Satyender Jain. Along with this, distribution of ration under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana could also prove beneficial for

Congress: Revival Efforts & Sheila Dikshit

The biggest drawback for the country's main opposition party, is that almost all the political experts are seeing Congress as the number three party. Also, in Delhi, it lacks a credible face and strong organisation.

However, in the last municipal elections, there was a sharp jump in the vote share of Congress and it got 21%. In last year's Lok Sabha elections, it got 22.46%, which was a boost for the Congress.

In the Lok Sabha elections, AAP got only 18% votes and was on the third position. However, in the subsequent Assembly elections, the Congress once again proved to be a laggard.

This time, though, the Congress is preparing to enter MCD with full vigour. According to Congress leaders, this time the party will go aggressively among the people and flag the work done by former CM Sheila Dikshit for 15 years. The election slogan of the Congress is: 'Meri Chamakti Delhi, Meri Congress Waali Delhi, Sheila Dikshit Waali

(My Shining Delhi, Congress’s Delhi, Sheila Dikshit’s Delhi).

On Monday, Congress handed over additional responsibility of the party's Delhi in-charge to its national spokesperson Ajay Kumar, who will hold charge till the MCD elections are over. Before this, Shakti
Singh Gohil was the party’s Delhi in-charge.

According to the Congress, Kumar has been given additional charge of Delhi as Gohil is busy with the Gujarat Assembly elections. Kumar is already in charge of Sikkim, Tripura and Nagaland.

The Congress on Monday also constituted a selection committee for the MCD elections, which will be headed by party general secretary Avinash Pandey.

(with inputs from PTI)

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