Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure that MCD polls in the national capital are not deferred and stressed that postponing elections weakens democracy.
The Delhi State Election Commission has said that the centre plans to bring a Bill in the Budget Session to unify three civic bodies and since the poll panel is examining the communication from Lt Governor Anil Baijal, it has decided to defer the announcement of the election schedule.
The panel has said that it has sufficient time to conduct the polls before the expiry of the term on May 18.
The three municipal corporations – South Delhi Municipal Corporation, North Delhi Municipal Corporation and East Delhi Municipal Corporation – are currently in BJP’s control.
“People are questioning the move. It has been seven-eight years since the BJP is at the Centre, why didn’t they do it (unification) earlier,” Mr Kejriwal asked. “The BJP knows that there is an AAP wave in Delhi and they would lose elections,” he said.
Questioning the rationale behind the move, he asked, “If tomorrow, three municipal corporations are clubbed, they will sit out of one office. The employees will do as needed, but why defer elections for this? Tomorrow if India is to go from a Parliamentary system to a Presidential system of governance, will elections be deferred? If two states are merged into one, will elections be deferred? These are unrelated incidents.”
“With folded hands, I urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to let the elections happen. Governments come and go. The country is important and not political parties. If we pressure the Election Commission, it weakens institutions. We should not let the institutions weaken since it weakens democracy and the country,” he said.
The Chief Minister said the state election panel took the decision within an hour of receiving a letter seeking deferment of the polls. “If institutions are so easily weakened, it is a grave threat to our nation and to democracy,” he said.
“I even appeal to the state election commissioner, Sir, please do not come under pressure. I do not know what pressure you are under – if it is an ED raid, or a CBI raid, or an income tax raid, or something else – or is it because the state election commissioner, who is due to retire this year, has been promised a favourable post-retirement posting, but whatever be the case, Sir, please do not be under pressure or greed,” Mr Kejriwal said.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission clarified today that it does not oversee local polls. Its remark came in response to a CPI(ML) leader’s tweet on the row over Delhi civic polls.
Sucheta De, the CPI(ML) leader, had termed the deferring of polls an “alarming development” and said the poll panel “should not buckle under pressure”.
In response, the Election Commission clarified that it does not have the mandate to conduct local elections.