MCD, the world’s second largest civic body, is all set to be broken into three after the April 15 polls. Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit says it will help make the civic body “administratively more responsive and effective”. Excerpts from an interview:
How will MCD’s trifurcation help the common man?
The idea of trifurcation strengthened when we realised that Delhi had grown too large over the years. Our thought process was supported by the Virendra Prakash, Balkrishnan and Saigal committee reports that advocated smaller municipal bodies. We realised it was difficult to control one such big city from one headquarters. Basic things such as garbage collection were being neglected.
Fifty per cent of seats are reserved for women. What kind of women candidates has the Congress fielded?
We took it as an opportunity for bringing greater gender involvement. It took us 3-4 years to convince our colleagues and make them understand its benefits. And the quality of young women who have come forward to contest is amazing. Most of them are well-educated professionals.
The UPA government at Centre has been involved in many scams and controversies. Will it impact the civic polls?
People have now started distinguishing between municipal, state and federal elections. They know municipal elections touch their daily lives. In the past, the MCD’s response has not been satisfactory. All those building collapses were its responsibility. And the voters will keep these things in mind when they would go out and vote.
It is being said within Congress circles that since Sheila Dikshit brought about trifurcation, the onus of winning the election in all corporations is on her.
(Laughs) I am not contesting the polls. It is not my government’s elections.
There was a lot of infighting and controversy on distribution of tickets.
This is the first time we did devolution of power. Instead of one central committee where members do not know the MCD wards and workers, we had parliament-wise committees. Apart from MPs and MLAs, state office bearers were also part of it. Tickets were distributed after consultation between 8-10 members. There are controversies, claims and counter-claims. But we did the best we could.
The smaller parties have been poaching on rebel candidates. Some are contesting as independents.
It happens all the time. We can only ask these candidates not do it. If we they do contest, we will take it in our stride.