The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, 5 April, passed The Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2022. The bill seeks to unify the three municipal corporations of Delhi.
"Questions have been raised on the government's constitutional capacity to bring the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2022. Those who call us power-hungry should look at themselves in the mirror," Amit Shah added.
The Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on 30 March.
The former Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) was trifurcated in 2012, creating North, South and East Delhi Municipal Corporations.
Shah said, "When the civic body was trifurcated, the objective must have been good: To give better services to residents. But this has not been the result." He claimed that there was no uniformity in policies adopted by the three civic bodies and their economic resources and responsibilities were not assessed properly.
MCDs Not Equipped With ‘Sufficient Resources’
Shah also said that the Delhi municipal bill was in no way an attack on the federal structure. He also attacked the Congress party and said:
"Congress, the party which imposed the Emergency, snatched all democratic rights, sent Opposition behind bars for no reason, strangled freedom of the press, and censored Kishore Kumar's songs, is crying for democracy today?"
The Centre said that the move to combine the three MCDs would result in smooth operations, efficient use of funds and save costs.
On 30 March, Amit Shah had said in Lok Sabha that the Delhi government was meting out step-motherly treatment to three Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCD) and that not all of these corporations were equipped with "sufficient resources to discharge their responsibilities."
He had said,
"The bill I have brought, its aim is that the three municipal corporations should be made one again and the Delhi Municipal Corporation should be made one."
This came amid a row between the AAP government in Delhi and the BJP at the Centre over the postponement of the MCD polls.
The Row Over MCD Poll Delay
The state election commission (SEC) of Delhi on 9 March – the day it was to announce the dates for Delhi’s three civic body polls – said that the MCD polls were being deferred, citing a communication from Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal.
Reportedly, Baijal had conveyed to the SEC that the Centre was intending to pass legislation to merge the three municipal corporations of Delhi.
Reacting to the deferment, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on 23 March had said that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will quit politics if the BJP allows the polls to be conducted on time and still wins them.
"We will leave politics if BJP gets the MCD polls held now and wins it," Kejriwal had said, issuing a challenge to the Centre.
"BJP is postponing MCD elections so that all three municipal corporations of Delhi can be unified. Can elections be postponed because of this? Tomorrow they will be losing Gujarat, so can they avoid that saying that they are uniting Gujarat and Maharashtra? Can Lok Sabha elections be postponed by making such an excuse?" he had questioned.
Retaliating to the AAP, Amit Shah said in Lok Sabha, "Those who are saying that elections (MCD polls) have been postponed due to fear of polls, themselves are scared. If you are so confident of the victory then why do you want elections right now? If you have done good work, you will win 6 months later too."