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Eye on polls, Delhi BJP pitches unified MCD

Sources said state unit president Adesh Gupta wants the three MCDs — East, North and South — to be unified ahead of the civic body polls due in April and is pitching for it, said sources. Gupta, however refused to comment on the issue.

Written by Abhinav Rajput | New Delhi |
Updated: October 25, 2021 8:36:07 am
The trifurcation is at the heart of the financial crisis in the civic bodies, leading to salary delays and strike by employees. (Express Archive)

The Delhi BJP is in favour of unification of the three municipal corporations and is advocating for the merger with the central leadership, it is learnt. The Centre has not taken a decision yet.

Sources said state unit president Adesh Gupta wants the three MCDs — East, North and South — to be unified ahead of the civic body polls due in April and is pitching for it, said sources. Gupta, however refused to comment on the issue.

The BJP, which has been ruling all three MCDs for the past 15 years, is up against a buoyant AAP trying to come into power in the civic bodies.

A senior BJP leader said party leaders have communicated to the senior leadership that a merger would solve the financial crisis, faced by the North and East MCDs especially, to an extent.

The trifurcation, which divided resources unequally, is at the heart of the financial crisis in the civic bodies. While the move was aimed at decentralising municipal governance in Delhi, officials said it only “tripled the number of officers, increased costs and resulted in unequal distribution of assets and liabilities”.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) had been trifurcated by the Sheila Dikshit government in April 2012. In later years, it was seen that while the South body has more posh colonies and was financially better placed, North faced acute financial crisis leading to a budget deficit, salary delays and frequent strikes by staff. The East MCD, placed between South and North financially, too has a budget deficit and mounting loans.

Sources in the party, however, said that advocating for a merger also has political connotations as the MCDs have constantly claimed they are devoid of funds because the AAP-led Delhi government is blocking it.

“This would also help the party send out a message to the public of how they plan to fix the fund crisis if voted to power again,” said a leader, adding that there has been no decision by the Centre yet.

The AAP, however, claims that mismanagement and corruption in the MCDs is responsible for the fund crisis.

The demand from the Delhi BJP to merge the corporations is not new. It was raised in 2014 and 2017, when former union minister Vijay Goel had batted in favour of unification saying it would lead to better functioning.

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