The South Delhi Municipal Corporation would focus on sanitation and enhancing transparency in administration through e-governance, BJP councillor Kamaljeet Sehrawat said, after being elected today as the new mayor of the civic body. The 44-year-old former vice president of Delhi BJP unit also asserted that the ruling party and the opposition in the SDMC must “work together” for a greener and cleaner city. “Sanitation would be one of our focus areas and we are going to improve our garbage management system by bringing in more mechanised sweeping facilities. Also the plan is to take more eco-friendly measures by enhancing capacity of waste-to-energy plants,” Sehrawat told reporters, soon after assuming charge.
Her NDMC counterpart, Preety Agarwal had yesterday, after taking charge, had also emphasised that sanitation would be her “top priority”. Sanitation is a major governance issue in Delhi and the BJP, which has been ruling the MCD for the last 10 years, has faced criticism from residents and opposition parties for lack of cleanliness in the city.
The Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress have continuously attacked the BJP-led corporations, alleging that the three civic bodies have turned the city into a “mound of garbage”. The three civic bodies had faired poorly in the Swachh Bharat survey which was released recently by the Centre. In the ‘Swachh Bharat’ reckoning of 434 cities for 2016-17, areas falling under the three municipal corporations were at a low — the EDMC (196), SDMC (202) and NDMC (279).
Sehrawat, who had won the civic polls by a record margin, was elected unopposed as the new mayor of South Delhi as the new team of the area’s civic body also took charge. The post of mayor sees five single-year terms on a rotation basis, with the first year being reserved for women, the second for open category, third for reserved category, and the remaining two also being in the open category.
Kailash Sankla was also chosen unopposed as the deputy mayor as no other party had filed nominations for the two posts. While Sehrawat represents Dwarka-B ward, Sankla won from Punjabi Bagh in the high-stakes MCD polls held on April 23. She had trounced AAP’s Sushma Bansal in Dwarka-B ward by a record margin of 9,866 votes, the highest in the entire polls. Sehrawat polled 14,613 while Bansal could just get 4,747 votes.
“Our emphasis is on ‘Digital India’ and e-governance, as envisioned by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We have made several facilities available online. And, now our target is to improve such facilities and bring greater transparency in our administration and remove scope for corruption,” she said, when asked if the SDMC is taking measures to check the alleged graft in the civic body.
“We have relaunched our website, and soon we will connect it with Facebook and Twitter too,” Sehrawat added. Members to the SDMC’s Standing Committee were also elected. From the BJP, Bhupender Gupta, Shikha Roy, Nandani Sharma and Tulsi Joshi became the members, as fellow party member Poorva had withdrawn her nomination.
Congress’s Andrews Ganj councillor Abhishek Dutt and AAP councillor from Hastsal ward, Ashok Kumar, were also elected for the panel. Incidentally, the first proceedings of the newly elected House of the SDMC, went without a hitch, as the municipal administration had made adequate security arrangements to ward off any unauthorised entry.
Yesterday, chaotic scenes were witnessed as the newly elected civic body of the NDMC met for the first time with some “outsiders” entering the House and chanting slogans of ‘Modi, Modi’ and ‘Jai Shri Ram’.
Leader of Opposition Ramesh, an AAP councillor from Matiala, who sported a traditional ‘pagdi’ (headgear), said, “We do not want to do politics, but work with your party (BJP). But, any step or policy which is against the interest of the people, would be opposed tooth and nail by the AAP.”
Out of the total 104 wards under the SDMC that had gone to polls, the BJP won 70, the AAP 16 and the Congress 12. One ward each was won by the SP and the INLD, while four independent candidates emerged victorious.
Shikha Roy, councillor from Greater Kailash, was chosen as the Leader of House. “We all represent the aspirations of the people of Delhi, and therefore we must not fail them. We dream of making the SDMC a model civic body, and therefore all must work together,” she said in her speech in the House.
The erstwhile unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi was trifurcated in 2012 into the NDMC, the SDMC and the EDMC. The first MCD poll after the trifurcation was held the same year. The BJP had bagged 181 of the 270 wards in the civic polls. Delhi has a total of 272 wards.
While election to Maujpur ward in east Delhi was held on May 14, Sarai Pipal in north Delhi will go to polls on May 21. Elections in these two wards were postponed due to death of candidates. Lok Sabha member Parvesh Verma, Senior Congress leader and former mayor Farhad Suri, veteran BJP leader Subhash Arya, former Delhi BJP president Satish Upadhyay and other senior leaders were also present.