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Let the MCD polls take place: Kejriwal to PM Modi

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to let the MCD elections go ahead in the nation’s capital, saying postponing the elections weakens the democratic system.

His remarks came after the Delhi State Electoral Commission sought advice from legal experts on whether it could still hold polls for the three municipal corporations here following a communication from the Center for their unification.

The Commission, after receiving the communication, had postponed the announcement of polling dates for South Delhi Municipal Corporation, North Delhi Municipal Corporation and East Delhi Municipal Corporation.

“People are questioning the move. It’s been seven to eight years since the BJP has been in the Center, why didn’t they do it (unification) sooner,” Kejriwal asked.

“Why did they remember only an hour before the scheduled press conference (Wednesday) that they had to unify the three civic bodies? The BJP knew there was a wave of AAP in Delhi and they would lose the election,” the chief minister said during a briefing.

Questioning the relationship between the polls and the unification of the three civic bodies, Kejriwal said, “What does the election have to do with the unification of the three civic bodies? The new councilors chosen at the end of the polls will sit in their respective offices if there are three civic bodies. If the three bodies are merged, they will sit together.

Kejriwal urged the Prime Minister to ensure that the elections take place.

“With folded hands, I urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to let the elections go ahead. Governments come and go. The country is important and not the political parties. If we put pressure on the electoral commission, it weakens the institutions. We must not let institutions weaken because that weakens democracy and the country,” he said.

The city’s three corporations are currently run by the BJP, which has controlled civic bodies since the trifurcation of the former Unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) in 2012.

The Commission had said on Wednesday that the Center was planning to introduce a bill in the budget session of Parliament to unify the three municipalities of Delhi and since the voting committee is considering the communication of Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, it decided to postpone announcement of the election schedule.

“The Commission has received a communication from the Lieutenant Governor expressing the intention of the Government of India to introduce legislation in the current session (of Parliament) for the unification of the three municipal corporations. The Commission considers the said communication and has therefore decided to ‘announce the election schedule later,’ the Delhi State Election Commission said in a statement.

The panel had also mentioned that it had enough time to organize civic elections before the expiration of the mandate on May 18, because the electoral process normally only takes about 30 days.

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