The restructuring of 272 municipal wards in the city, two months ahead of the MCD polls, has added to the challenge before the councillors since many of them have will have to win over voters in new areas that have been added to their constituencies.
On Tuesday, the Delhi State Election Commission (DSEC) notified the delimitation of municipal wards, paving the way for the elections to the municipal corporations. The polls are likely to be in April.
For instance, Congress councillor from Nizamuddin, Farhad Suri, will now have to woo voters from as far as Purdah Bagh (near Red Fort) and Yamuna pushta.
“About 65% of areas in my constituency have been shifted to other wards. Now, my ward will include areas from Purdah Bagh (near Red Fort) till Bhogal. My ward also includes pushta areas from across the Yamuna. The delimitation exercise has created more gaps than it has filled. This will also make it difficult for the councillors to develop their wards,” Suri said.
Councillors are also anxious that now they will have to go to the areas that are completely disconnected from their constituencies.
“We have worked in the our wards for five and even more years. But after the change in boundaries, all our efforts have gone down the drain. Now, we will have to start afresh in winning the confidence of people added in each ward after delimitation,” said a councillor on the condition of anonymity.
Neelam Buddhiiraja, councillor from Adarsh Nagar in north Delhi, is really disappointed with the delimitation. Except for two colonies, all other areas in her ward have gone to the neighbouring wards. “My ward has 85 % new area now such as Bhadaula Village, Jahangirpuri jhuggis and Sarai Village from ward no. 13 and 15.”
“I had raised objections soon after the draft of delimitation was notified by the state election commission. But none of my points were considered. I also suggested that four wards in Adarsh Nagar constituency remain with me. But the election commission didn’t consider my demands and reduced the number of wards to three in Adarsh Nagar constituency,” she said.
Likewise, Sarita Vihar ward in south Delhi, which has a population of 34,000, has also seen addition of areas from neighbouring three wards — 193, 205 and 206.
“To maintain the average population size of 60,000 persons in each ward, areas such as New Friends Colony, Jhoree Farms, Okhla Vihar, Hazi Colony and Masihgarh Village have been added to my ward. It would be a challenge to promote our work among the recently added voters. The time is limited time, but I am open to the changes,” said Neetu Chaudhary, councillor Sarita Vihar ward.
After delimitation, the Matiala assembly segment has been divided into seven wards. Out of these, three have been taken from the Matiala ward itself. The ward has a total population of 1,30,000 and to match the guidelines of an average population of 60,000 voters in each ward, it has been divided into three parts.
Ramesh Matiala, AAP councillor from Matiala, is happy with the changes. “It was difficult for me to develop such a big ward with limited resources and funds. Now, things will be easier as my ward has only 60,000 voters,” he said.
Abhishek Dutt, councillor from Andrews Ganj, has also lost 60 % of areas and these are replaced by Sewa Nagar. “I am not bothered about the changes because my ward has witnessed development. I am open to challenges and would love to work in new areas in the future,” he said.