Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) national convenor Arvind Kejriwal on Friday, 11 March, came down heavily on the Centre for allegedly influencing the Election Commission (EC) to delay three civic body polls in the national capital. The MCD polls were originally slated to take place on Wednesday, 9 March.
Addressing a media conference, Kejriwal said that the state election commission delayed the MCD polls after the Centre wrote a letter to the latter asking for a unification of the three civic bodies. He said that the Centre also allegedly told the EC to delay the polls.
"Date for MCD polls was to be announced at 5 pm on 9 March, but the same day an hour ago, Centre wrote to State EC to combine all three civic bodies into one, & that polls should be delayed. EC agreed to do so...Not okay if polls are cancelled, weakens EC role," Kejriwal said, adding that the Centre's main motive wasn't the unification of all 3 MCDs.
"Had they wanted, they would've done it in last 7 years. Motive was to postpone polls. I appeal to the PM with folded hands that if we force EC to cancel elections, it weakens it & the country. We've to protect the nation."
He further questioned if the Lok Sabha polls would be cancelled if the Centre says it wants to bring in presidential system.
"What if tomorrow, before LS polls, they say that they want to bring Presidential system instead of Parliamentary system & make changes to Constitution, so postpone polls. Will polls be postponed? Will state polls be postponed if they say they want to unify 2 states?," Kejriwal said.
'Such Allegations on Principal Instituions (EC) Not Gracious': Meenakshi Lekhi
Reacting to Kejriwal's allegations, Meenakshi Lekhi, Union Minister of State for External Affairs, said, "Such allegations on principal institutions (EC) do not seem gracious. I'd like to ask Kejriwal Ji, can any city survive without Municipal Corporation? As he has now started the process of removing Municipalities."
"Kejriwal Ji made a fake promise in 2012 that he will give 20% of the budget to local bodies, but even the 7-8% of budget which is being given to the municipalities is being scammed with... Isn't this against municipality reforms?" she further said.
The central government has deferred the announcement of dates for MCD polls, earlier scheduled for 9 March. Following the development, Kejriwal had 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 had earlier 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."
(With inputs from ANI.)