The MCD elections are just weeks ahead and all the political parties in the capital are busy executing their plans to grab one of the most prestigious civic bodies in the country. Earlier the MCD used to be a single entity but in 2012 it was trifurcated The MCD was trifurcated in 2012 – North, South and East Delhi Municipal Corporations. So now there are three separate MCDs in Delhi that are going to polls. The present MCDs are governed by the BJP which has the majority in all the three MCDs. However, not all is well with the BJP at the municipality level; Charges of inefficiency and corruption galore against the present MCDs.
So the BJP would be fighting not only the Aam Aadmi Party, a new but strong challenger to the BJP but also anti-incumbency and the follies of its own councilors. The BJP in order to damage control decided to do away with all the sitting counselors in the MCD but that may be too late, too little to assuage the feelings of the people. BJP is harping upon the charisma of the prime minister after the grand success of UP elections but PM is unlikely to campaign for municipality level elections. Of course, the UP chief minister is likely to campaign for the BJP in coming days but how successful he would be to convince the Delhi voters remains to be seen.
Arvind Kejriwal led Aam Aadmi Party has emerged as a force to reckon with at least in the Delhi. People have liked its ‘Bijli’, ‘Paani’ freebies and it has built a strong base in various slum areas and JJ clusters. A few days back Arvind Kejriwal also announced that if AAP was voted to power in MCD, it would do away with the residential property tax. The announcement has really stumped the opposition and this may indeed be welcomed by the voters who pay property tax.
Secondly what goes to its favor is that not only AAP has trumpeted its achievements in Delhi government but has systematically exposed the wrongdoings and corruption of MCD over a period of time and people by and large agree with the inefficiency and corruption in MCD. The third point that goes to the favor of AAP is that it has presented a roadmap for its future plans and where it wants to take the capital. So the AAP at the moment looks like a front runner. But you never know with the voters as in Punjab and Goa assembly elections it looked promising before elections but proved to be a dud when results were announced.
Apart from this the old war horse Congress is also in the fray. It may look disheveled but Delhi has its dedicated supporters and voters who can make a difference. There are two newcomers apart from AAP, Janata Dal United (JDU), and Swaraj Party. JDU can pull out a surprise as Delhi has a sizable population from Bihar where the JDU has earned a name for itself. The Swaraj Party may get votes but would they translate in seats remains to be seen as it is yet to build a voter base and dedicated supporters.
As various reports and ground surveys suggest the AAP at the moment is placed on top while the congress and JDU and other parties may garner some seats. The BJP is likely to be a loser even if it wins a large number of seats but falls short of the majority as the anti-BJP parties might collaborate to keep it out of power in the post-election alliance.