In March this year, hours before the State Election Commission was set to announce the dates for polls to the three municipal corporations in the state, a message went out from the Centre that the announcement had to be delayed. The reason was the Centre’s desire to reunify the three civic bodies (North, South and East) into one — as they were before 2012.
On Wednesday, the Aam Aadmi Party managed to edge past BJP, winning 134 out of 250 wards, while BJP won 104.
But what if the three civic bodies were not unified? Analysis of the list of winners and wards shows that the BJP would have won the East corporation, while AAP would have won the other two.
When the three corporations were reunified and the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act was amended, the total number of wards was reduced to 250 from 272. This also mandated a fresh delimitation. Because of this, the names and composition of some wards has changed. In the analysis, The Indian Express compared wards whose names are the same.
In the erstwhile East Corporation, where the names of 50 wards remain the same, BJP has won 28, AAP 18 and Congress three, while one seat has gone to an independent candidate.
In the erstwhile North Corporation, of the 87 wards whose names remain the same, AAP won 52 and BJP 33. Congress and an independent candidate got one each.
In what would have been the South Corporation, of the 88 wards whose names are the same, AAP has won 53, BJP 31, Congress three and an independent one. South Delhi is considered a stronghold of the Aam Aadmi Party.
MCD was trifurcated in 2012 under the tenure of then Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, when a Congress government was also in power at the Centre. The stated objective was decentralisation and more efficiency, but leaders from BJP had alleged at the time that the exercise was carried out to necessitate a delimitation exercise in favour of Congress. BJP, however, won the election to all three corporations in both 2012 and 2017.
Both BJP and AAP were in favour of reunification but the latter questioned the intent behind delaying elections for the purpose, alleging that it was done by the BJP to gain political ground.
According to senior AAP leaders, the delimitation exercise carried out this year concentrated AAP’s voter base in a few wards where they were sure of a win.
“We spoke out against this but only minor tweaks were made in the final wards that were drawn up,” said the AAP leader.