The Congress party has raised the issue of discrimination in the ‘delimitation’ and reduction of MCD wards from 272 to 250. Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Salman Khurshid has said that the draft report of the Delimitation Committee seems to have been prepared to neglect some particular communities and favour the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Khurshid said that though Delhi has been expanding and there is a surge in population every year, the reduction of MCD wards from 272 to 250 without explaining the logic behind the step appears to be suspicious and focused totally on fulfilling the BJP’s political agenda.
As per the reports on the delimitation process of MCD wards, in some Assembly constituencies the wards have been reduced, while in some Assembly constituencies, wards have been increased. The guidelines given to the Delimitation Committee had stipulated that each ward should have a population of 65,000 with a 10 per cent minus-plus variation.
However, in the new system, some wards have been expanded to the area with over 90,000 population, while some wards have the population around 35,000 only. The entire exercise is anti-Dalit, said Congress leader Rajesh Lilothia, while addressing a press conference.
He said that the delimitation exercise should have been limited to wards in 23 Assemblies only but it was done in all 70 Assembly constituencies, violating the population criteria and ward boundary norms.
He said that Dalit-dominated reserved wards have been reduced from 46 to 42, despite increase in their population. Moreover, the Dalits and Minorities dominated wards have been divided into neighbouring wards.
Social worker Rajiv Kakaria said that the new delimitation exercise is politically motivated, which is based on the number of votes polled last year. After conducting booth wise analysis, these wards, with low or high vote percentage for a certain political party, have been separated.
He further said that the division of wards remains questionable. Since a ward having planned colonies with fewer houses and less population in the given area differs from the unauthorized colonies having more houses and more population in the same given area.
The MCD was trifurcated on January 13, 2012 and was split into three smaller municipal corporations. The North Delhi Municipal Corporation and the South Delhi Municipal Corporation have 104 municipal wards each, while the East Delhi Municipal Corporation has 64 wards. The elections for MCD were scheduled to be conducted in April this year.
However, the state Election Commission in March, 2022, indefinitely deferred the municipal elections. Further, on March 22, the Union Government approved the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill to merge three municipal corporations into a single body. The unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi formally came into existence on May 22 this year.