The Union Cabinet on Tuesday, 22 March, approved 'The Delhi Municipal Corporation Amendment Act 2022', which would create a unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi by merging the three existing municipal corporations.
The Bill is likely to be introduced in the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament, PTI reported government sources as saying.
"Not all aspects of the bill have come forth, so saying anything regarding the unification of MCD would be haste. BJP had seven years for this unification, but the way they have postponed the polls is not good for democracy... we don't have a problem with the bill," Delhi Minister Gopal Rai was quoted as saying by ANI.
Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj took to Twitter to react to the development and said:
"Unification of 3 MCDs could have been done long back and could have been done anytime. This is simply a ploy to delay the pending elections of MCD. BJP is scared of losing MCD elections in Delhi."
MCD Poll Dates Announcement Had Been Deferred
In 2011, the Delhi Municipal Corporation was trifurcated into three municipal corporations – South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC).
Earlier, the central government had deferred announcing the dates for Delhi's three civic body polls, earlier scheduled for Wednesday, 9 March.
While the State Election Commission (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.
Reportedly, Baijal had conveyed to the SEC that the Centre was intending to pass legislation to merge the three municipal corporations of Delhi.
Delhi State Election Commissioner SK Srivastava said that the Centre wants to reorganise and unify the Delhi municipal corporations.
Meanwhile, the postponement was termed as "murder of democracy" by AAP leader Manish Sisodia, while Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal accused the election commission of buckling under Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP's) pressure.
On Thursday, 17 March, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) moved the Supreme Court, seeking directions to the SEC to conduct municipal elections without any interference from the Centre.
The BJP has dominated the municipal polls in Delhi for the past 15 years, with the ruling AAP now looking to dislodge them.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI.)