MCD election results 2017: Three areas that BJP must deliver on

With a clear mandate, it is imperative that BJP works towards improving local governance in Delhi through structural transformation.

Written by Apula Singh | New Delhi | Updated: April 26, 2017 10:42 pm
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The Municipal Corporation(s) of Delhi has been ruled by BJP since a decade now. And the BJP is all set to rule another 5 years with a whopping majority in all three municipal corporations. Despite the mismanagement of funds, inability to maintain cleanliness in the city and to control spread of vector-borne diseases, the citizens of Delhi have reposed their faith in BJP to run the MCDs. It is difficult to determine with certainty the reasons behind the Delhiites voting in such a manner. Perhaps it’s the ‘referendum’ on Arvind Kejriwal for his theatrics, for abandoning Delhi to campaign in Punjab and Goa, or perhaps it’s the citizens’ faith in a party that was able to remove all ‘corrupt’ incumbents, or perhaps it’s the Modi wave trumping over all possible reasons.

Read Also: MCD election results 2017: Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP finds the ground swept from beneath its feet

BJP’s Sankalp-patra (manifesto) for elections to the local government had images of PM Modi and Amit Shah towering over the image of their Delhi Chief Manoj Tiwari. It even called upon Delhiites to transform Delhi into Modi ji’s ‘sapno ki dilli’. BJP’s manifesto, similar to other parties, listed multiple populist measures. It is dotted with a lot of tall promises like food thalis worth Rs.10 under the Deen Dayal Antyodaya Rasoi Yojana, regularisation of temporary safai karamcharis and other staff as well, in a phased manner, services to JJ colonies and slums having standard equivalent to those of authorised colonies, among others. In effect, the focus of the manifesto is more on the discretionary functions of MCD (as listed in the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957), rather than the obligatory functions.

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It would be safe to say that manifestos are mere promises that do not always translate into action. But if BJP truly wants to keep a hold on Delhi and is eyeing to replace AAP in the Legislative Assembly, then it needs to tread cautiously and not destroy the faith that Delhiites have placed in the party. With a clear mandate, it is imperative that BJP works towards improving local governance in Delhi through structural transformation. Based on their own pre-poll promises, there are 3 areas that BJP must seriously deliver on.

Firstly, citizen participation needs to be encouraged and institutionalised through ward committees. The sankalp-patra promises that meetings of councillors, MCD officers and RWAs will be made mandatory. This tri-partite arrangement may not be enough as all residents of a ward may not be affiliated to an RWA. To truly follow the mandate of the 74th Constitutional Amendment and empower citizens, it is important to regularly hold ward committee meetings and deal with local issues in a localised manner. This will decentralise governance and provide avenues for citizens to meaningfully engage with the MCD. This should bridge the gap between citizens and government while providing some clarity to citizens about MCD’s functions. Presently with multiplicity of organisations, majority of Delhiites are unaware of the functions of different levels of government and a platform for civic engagement could augment good urban governance. In this regard, digitalisation will prove to be helpful and BJP should act on its promise. The website itself is quite poor and does not provide adequate and updated information. The MCD should take some lessons from Pune Municipal Corporation, for instance and make its website more accessible and user friendly. Mobile applications for grievance redressal could also be introduced.

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Secondly, the three civic bodies need a fool-proof plan to steer over the financial crisis and ensure financial sustainability. The promise of not levying any new tax or hiking rates comes in the way of that. The property tax which is the highest source of revenue for the civic bodies, has not been revised since 2002 and there are many properties which now qualify for a higher tax slab, some even in East Delhi post the Commonwealth Games development and spread of the metro. So the BJP councillors need to take a cue from PM Modi and be progressive. They must not block any move to raise property tax and should in fact promote it. Parking fees are minimalistic and promote use of personal vehicles even for short distances, leading to congestion even in residential areas. These too could be hiked or levied on hourly basis to match international standards, and advertisement base can also be exploited further.

Read Also: MCD election results: BJP victory is acceptance of Modi government’s policies, says Amit Shah

Thirdly and very importantly, the MCDs need to ensure cleanliness, put in place an efficient chain of solid waste management and prevent vector-borne diseases. The sankalp-patra contains no radical proposal on how to transform the state of waste management in the city. It continues to promote C&D waste treatment plant that lies dysfunctional and waste-to-energy plants that are criticised worldwide. Waste management is one key responsibility of the MCDs and it’s in a total mess from collection all the way to disposal at landfills. Some concrete steps like amending the Cleanliness and Sanitation bye-laws of 2009, in sync with the 2016 Solid Waste Management Rules; promoting source segregation and decentralised composting are the need of the hour. Alleppey (Kerala) and Tirunelvelli (Tamil Nadu) are successfully segregating and treating their waste and if Delhi is to become Modi ji’s sapno ki dilli, then Swachh Bharat Mission needs to be taken more seriously in the capital.

There is no escaping the fact that AAP is still ruling the Delhi government and has been a roadblock in local governance due to political differences. Thus, ensuring good governance would require that the BJP-ruled MCDs work alongside AAP-ruled Delhi government and avoid a confrontationist approach.

Views expressed by the author are personal. The author is a Research Associate (urban governance) with Vision India Foundation 

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  1. K
    Kapil Dev Suri
    Apr 30, 2017 at 9:31 am
    vote bank is the cause of garbage lying every where in country the sanitary workers never do their work properly and even not care for the public and superior authority whose duty is to check their working . they had not lifted garbage during strike for 10 days . delhi seemed and government was impotent to take any action. what opinion a foreigner will form on seeing this pile of garbage scattered on main roads and streets? .
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      SK Iyer
      Apr 27, 2017 at 7:24 am
      " the citizens of Delhi have reposed their faith in BJP"! is it? NO, as I see it. about 64 per cent didn't vote in favour of the BJP and this is where the BJP succeeded by employing a few other parties to split the votes. only the core voters of the BJP and some other controversial factors helped the situation in favour of the BJP. in fact, it's the traditional electoral behaviour that has to be changed so that the electoral process is meaningful and advantageous to we the people.
      Reply
      1. M
        Mahender Goriganti
        Apr 27, 2017 at 1:59 am
        Islamic Express's next stage of its anti national & 'anti BJP/Modi' propa a in less than 24hs
        Reply
        1. K
          Kapil Dev Suri
          Apr 30, 2017 at 9:37 am
          sk iyer comments he may tell also when congress ruled sixty years how many percentage of votes they secured . ? he seems top be pseudo supporter who is criticizing for criticism sake . i remind a proverb that every fool can condemn, complaint and criticize and the most foolish do ?
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          Antony
          Apr 26, 2017 at 10:49 pm
          Arvind kejriwals arrogance and his ambition to compete with modi and to become pm is the cause of this disaster. BJP ruled MCD's for 10 years and kept delhi as the dirtiest city in the world and kept the infracture creaky for last 10 years ! Even the road next to Prime ministers office have pot s and broken drainage system. still they win the election because of the ineptness of AAP. Now what delhites going to get is not clean delhi but a delhi filled with cattle and smelly roads with cow dung and garbage !
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            Amrita
            Apr 26, 2017 at 7:52 pm
            We need decisive action as regards pending complaints against illegal construction in Vasant Kunj. I am rather wary of RWA linkages as one of the persons I have complained against is an RWA office bearer. The demolition is pending since 2015. Fresh demolition orders have been issued on 24 November 2016. Delhi has voted for a cleanup of the system now we want outcomes in keeping with that. Keep the faith.
            Reply
            1. T
              tr
              Apr 26, 2017 at 5:18 pm
              The race between dengue, chikungunya and arvind kejriwal was won by former and arvind has decided to join acting cl es .He will learning new strategy/act to fool public!!
              Reply
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                Shrinivasa Kamath
                Apr 26, 2017 at 5:06 pm
                In spite of the poor performance, BJP has won m ively in MCD. Ten years of its performance in MCD is compared with that of three years of AAP's in Delhi by voters.
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                  Amrita
                  Apr 26, 2017 at 8:46 pm
                  I do believe that the BJP has won due to Mr Modi and his promise of a cleanup and revamp of the MCD. And voters took note of the removal of sitting councillors and other antiparty activity as decisive acts which reveal awareness of ground realities people experience. I think people who question the BJP victory should look at the seats won by the three key Parties. They reveal the true picture and the mood of the nation in Delhi. If the BJP wants to build on this victory they have to deliver big time and be fully accountable. I do not believe the ten year anti in bency of the BJP was a factor and neither was AAP.
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                  mumbikar
                  Apr 26, 2017 at 3:17 pm
                  something is not right with these elections, in ten years, what has bjp/rss done for delhi ? nothing . EC and SC need to start probing election results ASAP. people of delhi are smart enough not to vote for bjp/rss.
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                    IslamForFoooools
                    Apr 26, 2017 at 4:37 pm
                    Speak for yourself, don't speak for Delhiites, you jackazz. Something is wrong with your filthy mind and everything is wrong with you anti national jihadists
                    Reply
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                      Abhishek Acharyya
                      Apr 26, 2017 at 7:43 pm
                      What was anti-national in his comment?
                      1. A
                        Antony
                        Apr 26, 2017 at 10:54 pm
                        You RSS stooge , looks like today morning you have the over does of gober burger and gau mutra cola that s why you are calling everyone jihadi and antinational!
                      2. A
                        Amrita
                        Apr 26, 2017 at 8:31 pm
                        Delhi knows exactly what is good for it. We may make some errors but based on experience learn fast.
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                          Antony
                          Apr 26, 2017 at 10:51 pm
                          yes , just go near delhi railway station! that is the dirtiest place in the world i ever seen! your BJP councilors kept it filthy for last 10 years ! looks like that is what you want!
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