Day after Punjab polls win, Kejriwal thanks PM Modi, says let Delhi MCD polls take place

His remarks came after the Delhi State Election Commission sought the advice of legal experts on if it can still hold polls for the three municipal corporations.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal (File | PTI)
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal (File | PTI)

NEW DELHI: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to let MCD elections take place in the national capital, saying postponing polls weakens the democratic system.

His remarks came after the Delhi State Election Commission sought the advice of legal experts on if it can still hold polls for the three municipal corporations here following a communication from the Centre for their unification.

The Commission, after receiving the communication, had deferred the announcement of poll dates for the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation and the East Delhi Municipal Corporation.

"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," Kejriwal asked.

"Why did they remember it only an hour before the scheduled press conference (on Wednesday) that they have to unify the three civic bodies? The BJP knew that there is an AAP wave in Delhi and they would lose elections," the chief minister said at a briefing.

Questioning the relationship between polls and unification of the three civic bodies, Kejriwal said, "What does election have to do with unification of the three civic bodies? The new councillors chosen after polls will sit in their respective offices if there are three civic bodies. If the three bodies are merged, they will sit together."

Kejriwal urged the prime minister to ensure that the elections take place.

"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.

All three corporations in the city are currently ruled by the BJP, which has been controlling the civic bodies since the trifurcation of the erstwhile unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) in 2012.

The Commission had on Wednesday said the Centre plans to bring a bill in the Budget Session of Parliament to unify the three municipal corporations of Delhi and since the poll panel is examining the communication from Lt Governor Anil Baijal, it has decided to defer the announcement of election schedule.

"The Commission has received a communication from the Lt Governor conveying Government of India''s intention to bring legislation in the ongoing session (of Parliament) for unification of the three municipal corporations.

The Commission is examining the said communication and hence has decided to announce the election schedule later," the Delhi State Election Commission had said in a statement.

The panel had also mentioned that it has sufficient time to conduct civic elections before the expiry of the term on May 18 as the election process normally takes only about 30 days.

Kejriwal on Friday thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he congratulated the Aam Aadmi Party for its victory in the Punjab Assembly elections.

In a tweet, the prime minister had on Thursday night congratulated the AAP.

"I would like to congratulate AAP for their victory in the Punjab elections. I assure all possible support from the Centre for Punjab's welfare. @AamAadmiParty," Modi had tweeted.

In his reply, Kejriwal tweeted, "Thank you sir."

The Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday stormed to power in Punjab, bagging a record 92 of the 117 seats by decimating the Congress and the SAD-BSP combine, and handing a defeat to stalwarts Parkash Singh Badal and Amarinder Singh.

In terms of vote share, the AAP won 42 per cent of the total votes cast, as against 23.7 per cent it had five years ago.

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