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‘Murder of Democracy’: Why Has AAP Moved SC Over Delhi Municipal Polls?

What’s the whole controversy? Why have municipal polls been deferred? Here's how recent events have unfolded.

Updated
India
4 min read
‘Murder of Democracy’: Why Has AAP Moved SC Over Delhi Municipal Polls?
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Days after the State Election Commission (SEC) indefinitely deferred the municipal elections in Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Thursday, 17 March, moved the Supreme Court, seeking directions to the SEC to conduct municipal elections without any interference from the Centre.

While the SEC had been preparing to conduct the municipal elections by way of multiple notices indicating that the same would be conducted in April 2022, on 9 March – the day it was to announce the dates for Delhi’s three civic body polls – it cited an unofficial communication from Lt Governor Anil Baijal as the reason behind the deferment.

Meanwhile, the postponement has been termed as “murder of democracy” by AAP leader Manish Sisodia, while Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has accused the election commission of buckling under Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) pressure.

What’s the whole controversy? Why have municipal polls been deferred? Here's how recent events have unfolded.

‘Murder of Democracy’: Why Has AAP Moved SC Over Delhi Municipal Polls?

  1. 1. What Has the State Election Commission Said?

    After the central government deferred the announcement of dates for Delhi’s three civic body polls, Delhi State Election Commissioner SK Srivastav had 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 18 May."

    Reportedly, Baijal had conveyed to the SEC that the Centre was intending to pass legislation to merge the three municipal corporations of Delhi.

    Srivastav said that the Centre wants to reorganise and unify the Delhi municipal corporations.

    He further added, "We aren't postponing the elections. If at all unification of municipal corporations take place before 18 May, then we have to examine the situation. That's why we need time as of now to seek legal opinion on it."

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  2. 2. 'Murder of Democracy': AAP Reacts to the Deferment

    Reacting to the development, AAP supremo Kejriwal had said in a tweet, "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 added in a tweet.

    Meanwhile, AAP leader Manish Sisodia had addressed a press conference on 9 March, and said, "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."

    The BJP has dominated the municipal polls in Delhi for the past 15 years, with the ruling AAP now looking to dislodge them.
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  3. 3. The Plea in Supreme Court

    The plea filed in the Supreme Court has stated that the SEC on 9 March, had circulated a letter indicating its intent to hold a press conference at 5 pm on the same day to declare the specific schedule of the Municipal Elections, to be conducted in April.

    However, immediately thereafter, it received an unofficial communication from the Lt Governor of Delhi as per which the government of India was intending to pass legislation to merge the trifurcated Municipal Corporations of Delhi, it added.

    Notably, no formal State communication has been issued to this effect, yet. Even in the ongoing Budget session, no agenda has been declared regarding the tabling of a Bill to this effect, the plea added.

    The AAP added in its plea, "Indefinite deferral of the election is completely arbitrary, and at the whim of the Central government."

    Meanwhile, Kejriwal has argued that had the BJP-led Centre wanted, they would have done it (unified the municipal corporations) in the last seven years.

    However, he adds, the Centre's motive was to postpone polls. Kejriwal further appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi with "folded hands that if we force EC to cancel elections, it weakens the body and the country. We have to protect the nation".

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  4. 4. ‘BJP Ran Away’: AAP Strengthens Its Campaign Against the Saffron Party

    After AAP moved the top court on Thursday, the party launched a 'human chain' campaign, with party workers unfurling banners from flyovers of Delhi which read - 'BJP ne MCD chunaav karvaya radd haar ke darr se bhaagi BJP' (BJP got MCD elections postponed and ran away fearing defeat).

    Senior AAP leader Durgesh Pathak said, "The main goal of this campaign is to make the public aware of the BJP’s incompetence. The BJP has betrayed the people of Delhi by manipulating the Centre’s powers and deferring the MCD elections. This election is the fundamental right of all Delhiites. Postponing it is yet another example of BJP’s shameless arrogance."

    Meanwhile, AAP MLA Madan Lal said in a tweet, "Corporation election in Delhi means BJP getting wiped out, BJP got scared due to this knockout..."

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

What Has the State Election Commission Said?

After the central government deferred the announcement of dates for Delhi’s three civic body polls, Delhi State Election Commissioner SK Srivastav had 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 18 May."

Reportedly, Baijal had conveyed to the SEC that the Centre was intending to pass legislation to merge the three municipal corporations of Delhi.

Srivastav said that the Centre wants to reorganise and unify the Delhi municipal corporations.

He further added, "We aren't postponing the elections. If at all unification of municipal corporations take place before 18 May, then we have to examine the situation. That's why we need time as of now to seek legal opinion on it."

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'Murder of Democracy': AAP Reacts to the Deferment

Reacting to the development, AAP supremo Kejriwal had said in a tweet, "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 added in a tweet.

Meanwhile, AAP leader Manish Sisodia had addressed a press conference on 9 March, and said, "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."

The BJP has dominated the municipal polls in Delhi for the past 15 years, with the ruling AAP now looking to dislodge them.

The Plea in Supreme Court

The plea filed in the Supreme Court has stated that the SEC on 9 March, had circulated a letter indicating its intent to hold a press conference at 5 pm on the same day to declare the specific schedule of the Municipal Elections, to be conducted in April.

However, immediately thereafter, it received an unofficial communication from the Lt Governor of Delhi as per which the government of India was intending to pass legislation to merge the trifurcated Municipal Corporations of Delhi, it added.

Notably, no formal State communication has been issued to this effect, yet. Even in the ongoing Budget session, no agenda has been declared regarding the tabling of a Bill to this effect, the plea added.

The AAP added in its plea, "Indefinite deferral of the election is completely arbitrary, and at the whim of the Central government."

Meanwhile, Kejriwal has argued that had the BJP-led Centre wanted, they would have done it (unified the municipal corporations) in the last seven years.

However, he adds, the Centre's motive was to postpone polls. Kejriwal further appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi with "folded hands that if we force EC to cancel elections, it weakens the body and the country. We have to protect the nation".

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‘BJP Ran Away’: AAP Strengthens Its Campaign Against the Saffron Party

After AAP moved the top court on Thursday, the party launched a 'human chain' campaign, with party workers unfurling banners from flyovers of Delhi which read - 'BJP ne MCD chunaav karvaya radd haar ke darr se bhaagi BJP' (BJP got MCD elections postponed and ran away fearing defeat).

Senior AAP leader Durgesh Pathak said, "The main goal of this campaign is to make the public aware of the BJP’s incompetence. The BJP has betrayed the people of Delhi by manipulating the Centre’s powers and deferring the MCD elections. This election is the fundamental right of all Delhiites. Postponing it is yet another example of BJP’s shameless arrogance."

Meanwhile, AAP MLA Madan Lal said in a tweet, "Corporation election in Delhi means BJP getting wiped out, BJP got scared due to this knockout..."

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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