The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday passed the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2022 to merge three civic bodies all of which are ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party, ANI reported.
The three corporations include North Delhi Municipal Corporation, South Delhi Municipal Corporation and East Delhi Municipal Corporation.
The Delhi corporation was trifurcated in 2012 by the Sheila Dikshit-led Congress government. At that time, the Congress had said it wanted to decentralise power for better governance. The Bill aims to unify these corporations by seeking an amendment to the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957.
On Tuesday, the Bill was cleared with a voice vote, after a reply by Home Minister Amit Shah.
He said that the municipal corporations were merged to bring in a strong system for better planning and complete utilisation of funds.
Shah added that the Aam Aadmi Party’s treatment of the three civic bodies was proving to be a hindrance to their efficient functioning.
“There have been more than 250 strikes involving these three municipal corporations in the past 10 years,” Shah said, according to NDTV. “The number of strikes have gone up due to the step-motherly treatment by the AAP.”
The Aam Aadmi Party has vehemently opposed the Bill saying that it was introduced by the Centre to postpone the civic elections in the Capital that were scheduled for April.
The current term of the councillors ends on May 18, and so, the State Election Commission had initially scheduled the corporation polls on March 9, The Indian Express reported.
Later, the elections were scheduled in April, but the Commission deferred the polling indefinitely citing a communication from Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal.
Aam Aadmi Party leaders said that the unification of municipal corporations could have been done in the last few years, as the BJP has been in power in the Centre since 2014. But, the BJP is doing it purposefully now to postpone the elections because they know that they will not win.
On Tuesday, Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi said that the Bill had nothing to do with the improvement of Delhi’s residents, NDTV said.
“This Bill is four things: it is constitutionally suspect, it is legally untenable, it is an administrative blunder and it is politically hypocritical,” he said. “This Bill is about control, more control and more control by a control-freak sarkar.”