MCD elections: Come out and vote if you want cleaner and better Delhi | delhi | Hindustan Times
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MCD elections: Come out and vote if you want cleaner and better Delhi

Fed up of those garbage dumps in your colony, the stinking public toilets and the unkempt parks? Well, you could do more than just complaining and demand a solution to such civic problems. But only if you go out and vote.

MCD Elections 2017 Updated: Apr 23, 2017 08:44 IST
Sweta Goswami
A model polling booth at Delhi Gate,  on Saturday.
A model polling booth at Delhi Gate, on Saturday.(Arun Sharma/HT PHOTO)

It’s a Sunday and if you are reading this, know that you could be among the 1.32 crore Delhi residents who are going to vote for today’s municipal elections that also assume a lot of political significance this time around.

Fed up of those garbage dumps in your colony, the stinking public toilets and the unkempt parks? Well, you could do more than just complaining and demand a solution to such civic problems. But only if you go out and vote.

Choosing your councillor is just as (or even more) important as choosing your prime minister and chief minister. Why? Because the 272 councillors are the ones who represent the 272 wards of Delhi and are responsible for giving you a clean and healthy surrounding.

Remember last year’s fatal dengue and chikungunya outbreak or the strikes by sanitation workers that left garbage mounds in your backyards unattended for weeks? Covering an area of 1,397.3 square kilometers, the three municipal corporations of Delhi (North, South, and East) provide civic services to 1.32 crore people.

State election commissioner SK Srivastava told Hindustan Times that he wanted to send across a message to all Delhiites. “The MCDs cover almost 96% of the total span of the national capital. From cradle to crematorium, it is the MCD that you will always need, be it making birth or death certificates, getting kuda (garbage) removed or trade licence or building plans approved. So even if it is hot, please go out and vote on Sunday,” he said.

With 29 departments such as engineering, sanitation, primary education and horticulture among others, the civic bodies deal with most common problems that the citizens face -- cleanliness, potholed roads, encroachments, broken pavements, poor condition of gardens, community centres, parking lots, approval of building plans, trade licences and registration of birth and death.

The Delhi election commission is running a campaign with the tagline ‘Voter Dhakad Hai’ (Voters are awesome), which is inspired by a song in the Aamir Khan starrer Dangal.

Srivastava said the state poll office is hoping to see a record turnout this time. “In the 2012 MCD elections, the polling percentage was 55% -- the highest for Delhi’s civic elections in 15 years. But this time we are expecting 65-70% turnout,” he said.

With 2.24 lakh people added in just a span of three months from January to April 3, the chances of a better turnout are quite high.

The youth could play a significant role in the MCD polls as more than 1.1 lakh people would be voting for the first time. Of this, 24,825 are those who have recently turned 18, while the rest are aged 19 and above.

According to Bharati Chaturvedi of Chintan, an NGO working in Delhi’s sanitation sector, a higher turnout this time would help build the “credibility” of the MCDs that was lost over time. “More the people vote, more is their involvement in civic issues and more would be the pressure on councillors to work. If you don’t vote, you alienate yourself from your surroundings and won’t raise your voice to fix accountability. Simply put - no vote, no voice,” she said.

Explaining why it was important that people vote during the civic polls, Srikanth Viswanathan, CEO Janaagraha, said, “The country’s foreign policy may not affect my daily life but if there is a heap of garbage on the local street or the road is potholed, it will bother me.”

So, brave the sun and vote as you have the power to fix what’s going wrong in your locality.