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MCD election

AAP sweeps MCD election, bags 134 of 250 wards

Published : Dec 07, 2022 17:32 IST

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AAP sweeps MCD election, bags 134 of 250 wards

AAP workers celebrate their party’s thumping victory in the MCD election, in New Delhi on December 7, 2022.

AAP workers celebrate their party’s thumping victory in the MCD election, in New Delhi on December 7, 2022. | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

The party wrested the Delhi civic body from the BJP, which had ruled it since 2007.

Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has won the closely contested Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) election, sweeping aside the BJP, which had ruled the civic body since 2007.

The AAP won a decisive majority by bagging 134 of the 250 wards. The BJP bagged 104 while the Congress, which put up a lacklustre campaign, had to be content with just nine wards.

For Delhi residents, the MCD result comes as a breath of fresh air as it has ended the civic body’s long-standing logjam with the State government. The AAP leadership sounded convinced enough that the MCD win will now help the party redress public grievances. “We need the support of the Central government and the blessings of the Prime Minister to do our job,” AAP chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal told a rally, promising to mitigate corruption in the MCD administration.

Now, the AAP’s double engine in Delhi faces the arduous task of moving garbage mountains to ensure a clean Delhi, besides fixing the MCD’s long-standing chronic issues such as a casualised workforce, timely disbursement of salaries, creation of trade and vending zones, simplification of licensing processes, trash collection, scarce parking space, dilapidated civic infrastructure, urban homelessness, and making safe drinking water available to slums and the city’s peripheral areas.

Owing to the ongoing dispute over control of the administrative services between the Arvind Kejriwal government and the Centre, the MCD result has left BJP leaders floundering. The saffron party had pulled out all stops to retain its dominance on the civic body. The BJP, which lacks a State leader as popular as Kejriwal and ran a campaign centred around Prime Minister Narendra Modi, initially targeted the AAP over its failure to clean the heavily polluted Yamuna river but eventually took to polarisation politics to consolidate its vote base.

ALSO READ: MCD election brings garbage and a polluted Yamuna into focus

During its campaign, the AAP capitalised on MCD anti-incumbency and a public perception that under the BJP’s rule the body was marred by corruption and inefficiency. It targeted the BJP for failing to address the garbage issue besides public grievances concerning civic amenities.

The BJP has not been able to form the State government in Delhi for the past 24 years, but it retained the MCD two years after the AAP won 67 of 70 seats in the 2015 Assembly election.  Contrary to exit poll predictions about the 2022 MCD election, the BJP’s vote share in MCD increased to about 39 per cent from 37 per cent in 2017, when the civic body was divided into East, South, and North corporations. Following the unification of the three civic bodies of the national capital into one in May this year, the voting for the 250-ward MCD was held on December 4 in which 1,349 candidates were in the fray.

The voter turnout was only around 50 per cent. Observers said that the high-octane campaigns failed to enthuse voters in affluent areas. On the other hand, they said, the voter turnout was higher in low-income colonies and poorer neighbourhoods comprising unauthorised colonies, clusters, and rural pockets where residents are heavily dependent on the Delhi government’s welfare schemes such as free electricity, water, bus travel for women, and health care at Mohalla clinics.

Party reactions

Reacting to the results, senior AAP leader and Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that the mandate defeated the “world’s biggest and most negative party”. He wrote on Twitter: “For us, this is not just a victory, it is a big responsibility.”

AAP MP Sanjay Singh said: “Fake cases and fake charges couldn’t stop our party.” In the run-up to the MCD election and Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the AAP had accused the ruling BJP of harassing its leaders through various government agencies.

Senior AAP leader and Delhi’s Environment Minister Gopal Rai described the MCD results as a clear message to the BJP. “If the BJP doesn’t work for the welfare of the people, they will go for Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party. The Delhi residents have told the BJP, loud and clear,” he told reporters.

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann of the AAP viewed the election results as “a defeat of BJP’s hate politics”. Mann said: “People need schools, hospitals, electricity, and cleanliness.”

Despite seven BJP Chief Ministers and several Union Ministers and parliamentarians campaigning in the election, the BJP was unable to gain the voters’ confidence. Nevertheless, it thanked the voters. BJP MP Manoj Tiwari, who aggressively campaigned, said on Twitter: “For the fourth consecutive time, the people of Delhi have shown faith in the BJP and given so many seats to the party.”

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