The central government has deferred the announcement of dates for Delhi’s three civic body polls, earlier scheduled for Wednesday, 9 March. Following the development, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has accused the Election Commission (EC) of buckling under Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP's) pressure.
The Delhi state election commissioner said that the MCD elections won't be postponed, and will be conducted before 18 May.
Delhi State Election Commissioner SK Srivastav said, "As central government raised few issues that are yet to be legally examined by us, we'll not be able to announce MCD election dates as of now. We'll take some more days. We've to conduct the elections before 18th May."
He said that the Centre wants to reorganise and unify the Delhi municipal corporations.
"We aren't postponing the elections. If at all unification of municipal corporations take place before 18th May, then we have to examine the situation. That's why we need time as of now to seek legal opinion on it," Srivastava was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
'Murder of Democracy': AAP Reacts to the Deferment
Reacting to the development, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Kejriwal said, "Can central govt 'direct' any EC to delay/cancel any elections? Under which provision? Are these 'directions' binding on EC? Why is EC buckling under pressure? Will Modi ji not even allow elections in this country now?"
"BJP ran away. MCD election postponed, conceded defeat. Delhiites are very angry. Saying dare they not conduct the elections? Will forfeit their bail now. In our survey, we were to win 250 of the 272 seats. Now more than 260 will be ours. But the Election Commission should not have come under BJP's pressure," he said in a tweet.
"Murder of democracy! For the first time in the history of independent India, the Election Commission was scared of the BJP sitting at the Centre. And despite the pre-announced press conference, MCD refused to announce the date of the election," said AAP leader Manish Sisodia.
The BJP has dominated the municipal polls in Delhi for the past 15 years, with the ruling AAP now looking to dislodge them.