Making a fervent appeal to the Capital’s citizens to do away with mismatch between the quality of services provided by the Congress-led Delhi Government and the outgoing BJP-controlled Municipal Corporation of Delhi in the fields of health, education and infrastructure, the Congress Party on Saturday appealed to the people to vote for it in the upcoming elections to the three new Municipal Corporations to ensure greater transparency and less corruption in the civic bodies.
Speaking at the release of three different manifestoes – one each for the North, South and East Delhi Corporations – which elucidated the need for trifurcation of the MCD, the performance of the Delhi Government and the specific projects planned in the three new Corporations, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president J. P. Agarwal said the manifestoes have been brought out in Hindi, English, Urdu and Punjabi and speak about the Congress’ area-specific approach. He said the party is going out to the people on the plank of providing corruption-free and transparent Corporations.
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, the architect of MCD trifurcation, said the need to divide the Corporation was felt as it catered to over 90 per cent of Delhi’s 1.70 crore population. “Earlier there was one Commissioner for handling the needs of so many people and this was an impossible task. But now we have divided the Corporations and in doing so taken them physically closer to the people.”
Ms. Dikshit said while to begin with the North and South Corporations will located in Civic Centre, the South Corporation would later move to Dwarka. The East Corporation would operate from a Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation premises in Patparganj.
Incidentally, the manifesto also spell out the objectives of trifurcation as “better governance, faster growth, greater transparency and accountability in administration, all round development and bringing the corporations closer to the people”.
The Chief Minister also said the party’s “bold and historic decision” to provide 50 per cent reservation to women in the Corporations was a revolutionary step in the direction of empowerment of women. “I am confident it would augur well for the governance as a large number of highly-educated women, many of them chartered accountants, lawyers and professionals, are now coming out to contest the elections,” she said.
In the 20-page manifestoes, drafted by a committee chaired by West Delhi MP Mahabal Mishra, the Congress claimed its “tradition is to desist from making false promises and spurious claims” and to “fulfil what we promise”. The party has also used the document to narrate its achievement in MCD between 2002 and 2007 and in the Delhi Government.
However, when questioned about charges of corruption against the Delhi Government and the Centre, Ms. Dikshit categorically stated that this was not the right moment to discuss these issues as the civic body polls were a referendum on the functioning or the lack of it of the BJP-ruled MCD. “When we would come to the Assembly election, we will answer all these issues and charges.”
She said by indulging in accusations against the Congress at this juncture, the BJP was only trying to “wish away something when they had no answer for their own shortcomings.”
The manifesto release function saw participation of several party heavyweights including senior AllpIndia Congress Committee leaders Motilal Vora and Janardhan Dwivedi besides most of Delhi’s MPs and Ministers.