Flat landfills on BJP’s agenda too, party vows app for MCD services
The BJP, which is eyeing a fourth term in the corporation, slammed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government for stalling municipal work and said that it will fulfil its manifesto with the help of the central government
Union commerce minister Piyush Goyal on Friday released the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s 12-point ‘Sankalp Patra’ (manifesto) for the municipal elections, which promised citizen-centric services on mobile phones via a new “My MCD” app, clearance of all landfill sites by 2024, 100% scientific disposal of waste, abolishment of factory licences and housing for slum residents. The manifesto also promised “timely delivery of its poll promises”.
The BJP, which is eyeing a fourth term in the corporation, slammed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government for stalling municipal work and said that it will fulfil its manifesto with the help of the central government.
While releasing the manifesto, Goyal said, “It is the Kejriwal government’s constitutional responsibility to provide assistance and support to the municipal corporation. But they failed to do so. The Delhi government was supposed to give ₹42,000 crore as per the finance commission, but they tried to hinder the work of the erstwhile civic bodies by not releasing the fund.”
The minister also hit out at the Delhi chief minister, accusing the AAP government of corruption and of not doing any development work in the national capital. “The Kejriwal government has failed to deliver on its promises. In the past eight years, they have not constructed any new flyover, schools, hospitals, etc, whereas the central government has carried out several projects to improve road connectivity, expand the Metro network. They promised to fight corruption, but today they are involved in corruption,” the minister alleged.
A spokesperson of AAP declined to comment.
The upcoming municipal elections, scheduled on December 4, are crucial for the BJP to remain relevant in the city’s governance system. In 2017, the party won in all three erstwhile municipal corporations with 181 seats despite strong anti-incumbency.
This time, the BJP also promised that it will make all municipal services, including grievance redressal, available on a mobile application “My MCD” within 100 days to ensure transparency in the corporation’s functioning. It also promised a dedicated helpline for reporting corruption in line with the party’s “zero tolerance policy”.
The BJP said that it will upgrade the health and education infrastructure in the city. “We will develop a ‘happiness area’ to encourage youngsters interested in activities such as music, art and singing,” the party manifesto said.
The BJP, which is under attack from the AAP in the run-up to the polls over the alleged mismanagement of sanitation services, has promised that the party will work towards making Delhi “green and sustainable”. Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta said, “In the next two years, we will recycle 100% solid waste through the waste-to-energy plant and set up four more. We are committed to clear the three landfill sites by 2024. We are working towards making Delhi garbage-free.”
In a bid to galvanise its support base in the city’s trading community, the party made a host of promises such as abolishing factory licensing from April 1, 2023, discounts in renewal of trade licenses, address issues related to de-sealing of shops by June 2023, allowing kitchens in guesthouses, etc. The party has also promised to regularise weekly markets and provide other services such as monthly passes, identity cards to street vendors etc.
The BJP also promised to construct 1,000 ghats for Chhath Puja in a bid to woo its Purvanchali votebank.
The BJP, in its manifesto, said that it will further simplify norms for constructing houses and provide relief in property tax. “We will make a provision for an exemption of up to 15% commercial property tax for entrepreneurs and businessmen. Along with this, a provision of an additional 5% exemption will be given to women entrepreneurs. We will waive the property tax of all religious places and community buildings of NGOs under the jurisdiction of the MCD,” said the manifesto.
With the Centre providing flats to at least 3,000 slum residents in Kalkaji Extension earlier this month, the BJP said it is committed to providing them with similar housing facilities. In the manifesto, the party promised to provide 200,000 slum residents and 500,000 people living in unauthorised colonies with housing under the PM-UDAY, which was announced by the Centre in 2019 to give ownership rights to the residents of 1,731 unauthorised colonies, as per the manifesto. To be sure, the PM-UDAY scheme is a central government scheme implemented by the Delhi Development Authority and the civic agency doesn’t have a role in its implementation.
In its election manifesto for the 2017 municipal elections, the party had promised to start a scheme to provide meals priced at ₹10. After coming to power with a huge mandate, the BJP started the Deendayal Antyodaya Rasoi Yojana at four-five places. But the scheme has not been operational for the past three years. The BJP has once again promised to set up kitchens to provide cooked meals at subsidised rates in its manifesto.
Gupta said, “We will set up 50 Annapurna Rasoi in Delhi which will be run by women. People will get cooked meals for just ₹5.”
To promote young entrepreneurs, the BJP promised to release a policy for food trucks and a night food market and cloud kitchens by next year. Satish Upadhyay, head of the manifesto committee, said, “To make Delhi a startup hub, young men and women will be encouraged to set up startups providing a single-window mechanism and other facilities for all MCD-related services. We will implement a policy to allow food trucks, night food markets and cloud kitchen policy by 2023 to create 100,000 self-employment opportunities.”