MCD Elections: Left Front in the Fray With Alternative Politics
A total of 1416 candidates are in the fray for 250 seats in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). Of these, 17 candidates are also from the United Left Front. As per Delhi State Election Commission, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have fielded 250 candidates each. At the same time, 439 independents are also in the fray. The Left is contesting elections on limited seats based on their work; their aim is to raise the working people's issues in the elections and create a strong opposition in MCD.
Candidates From the United Left Front
In MCD 2022 Elections, the Community Party of India (Marxist) (CPIM) has fielded candidates for six seats. Among these six candidates, Shabnam is contesting from the Holambi Kalan ward, Shatrughan Kumar from the Mukundpur ward, and Lata Tiwari from the Mithapur ward. Zeenat Zehra is contesting from the Mustafabad ward, which was affected by riots in 2022. Ashok Poddar is in the fray from the Sabhapur ward, while Reena Devi has been made the candidate from Janakpuri South.
Similarly, CPI has candidates in three seats, including Sajda Begum from Bawana, Sanjeev Kumar Rana from Keshav Puram, and Rinku Devi from the Madhu Vihar ward.
CPI-ML (Liberation) has fielded candidates from five wards. Among these, Anil Kumar Singh is contesting from Bakner Ward, Sita Devi from the Ashok Vihar ward, Jitender Kumar from Lado Sarai, Naushad from the Sangam Vihar ward, and Priyanka Chowdhary is contesting the Gharoli ward.
Apart from this, the Forward Block has also fielded candidates in three wards; Sangeeta is contesting from the Nangloi Jat ward, Ravi Shankar from Nihal Vihar, and Chhanovar Ali is the party's candidate from the Vasant Kunj ward.
However, Left parties had also nominated candidates for some other seats, but they aren't contesting due to nomination cancellation or other constraints.
Left Raising Issues Which are Going Missing in the Election Noise
The campaigning for MCD elections is in full swing. Each party is trying to make promises and claims to woo voters. But the Left parties are even raising those questions that the rest of the parties are avoiding. Left Front is not raising the issue of garbage and corruption in MCD; at the same time, it is also calling out BJP on the latter's communal and bulldozer politics. The Front also highlights the plight of street vendors and the cleaning staff in MCD.
BJP, the incumbent party in the elections, avoids questions about its work in the corporation. It is because the party has been in power in MCD for the last 15 years. While AAP has been raising the issue of garbage mountains in the city, it is shying away from talking about the bulldozer campaign to demolish slums in the city. It has also been silent on the issues of street vendors.
The CPI(M) has also made BJP's communalism an election issue, and for the first time, a candidate has been fielded from Delhi riot-affected Mustafabad ward. Party leaders say that this time, people are against both BJP's communalism and the double-face politics of Arvind Kejriwal's AAP.
Soon after the Delhi riots, when parties with a large mass base and their leaders were laying low, CPI(M), despite being a smaller force in the capital, went to the affected areas and helped the victims
It not only helped them financially but
also helped them legally. A few days ago, a skill development centre was opened to help the children of the riot-affected families.
In the same way, the Left parties continuously go among the public despite their limited strength. It was seen in various instances- during the Delhi riots, to stop bulldozers after the Jahangirpuri violence, or to help labourers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Similarly, Sabhapur Ward 250, which is an extension of Sonia Vihar Ward, is the last ward of Delhi, which shares its border with Uttar Pradesh. This ward is still far away from development. From here, candidate Ashok Poddar talked to NewsClick and said that the party is constantly fighting for people's issues there.
"Many big areas of Delhi drink water from Sonia Vihar water treatment plant. But to date, there is no supply of drinking water in our houses. Similarly, the matter of sewer cleaning seems a distant reality when the region does not even have sewers."
Poddar says that BJP and AAP have promised many times, but even today, construction activities in the area are illegal, under the guise of which both the corporation and the police are extorting from the public.
Left Mobilising People on Fundamental Questions
CPI-ML is contesting five corporation seats in Delhi. Its Delhi State Committee leader Shweta exclusively spoke to Newsclick. She said, "Sanitation is a very important issue in the corporation, and sanitation workers are a part of the same, whose condition is such that they do not get a salary for many months. Contract work has increased in MCD, making it worse for cleaning workers. No party raises their questions, so this time, we have fielded a sweeper as our candidate from Lado Sarai. We want the sanitation workers' voices raised in the corporation, and their demands should be discussed.
Apart from this, she said that the ruling BJP and Kejriwal in Delhi have been promising to house slum residents at the place of their slums, but instead of fulfilling these promises, they are using bulldozers.
Rajeev Kunwar, Delhi Secretariat Member, CPI(M), told NewsClick that in the 15 years of BJP rule in MCD, the Left has been raising issues related to misrule and corruption.
"BJP, in the election season now, is presenting corporate integration as its achievement when the truth is that the BJP has done the work of covering its 15 years of loot with this. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi is the country's highest-earning corporation, yet the employees do not even get a salary here.
Accusing the BJP of corruption, Kunwar said that BJP has used the money allocated for welfare programs in MCD for party purposes. It also used employees' pension money in the wrong places, which hints at a massive corruption scam. BJP's corruption has destroyed the city's primary education infrastructure and healthcare services.
"Parties like BJP and AAP, which have a lot of resources, are always prepared for elections. However, smaller parties like ours face a lot of issues. This is the reason why we could not field a lot of candidates in the ongoing elections."
Along with this, he also attacked the Kejriwal government and rejected the latter's claims about development. He was also told only a phrase.
"AAP is making a lot of promises, but it is not doing any work that is under its jurisdiction. Since Kejriwal became the CM, the government has stopped making new ration cards; at the same time, it has cancelled old ration cards."
Voting for the MCD elections will be held on December 4, and the counting of votes will be done on December 7.
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