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Congress cries foul over ‘faulty’ delimitation of local bodies in Uttarakhand

Expansion of urban local bodies (ULBs) and simultaneous delimitation of wards in municipal areas barely three months ahead of the civic polls has left the Congress in a tizzy in Uttarakhand

dehradun Updated: Jan 08, 2018 20:27 IST
Neha Pant
Neha Pant
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand News,Congress,local bodies
A delegation of Congress members led by former MLA Rajkumar submits a memorandum to Dehradun municipal commissioner Vijay Kumar Jogdande on Monday.(HT Photo)

Expansion of urban local bodies (ULBs) and simultaneous delimitation of wards in municipal areas barely three months ahead of the civic polls has left the Congress in a tizzy in Uttarakhand.

Looking to strike back in the ULB polls due in April, the Congress state unit has alleged that the BJP-led state government was carrying out “faulty” delimitation (carving out of new or modification of areas in existing wards) to “suit” its own equation in the upcoming elections.

On Monday, Congress leader Rajkumar led a protest to oppose what the party has termed “severe anomalies” in the way new wards have been chalked out or existing wards altered in the proposed delimitation of the Dehradun Municipal Corporation (DMC).

The district administration has already received over 150 objections against the proposed delimitation of the DMC. Similar protests are being held by the Congress in other parts of the state as well.

“There is no clear mention of boundaries of new wards and maps,” said former MLA Rajkumar, who was joined by other Congress leaders and corporators in his protest.

“There are wide disparities in the delimitation of wards in terms of distribution of population,” former cabinet minister Dinesh Agarwal said.

A delegation of party leaders recently urged the state election commission to take over the delimitation exercise in its hand.

“First, the government went ahead with expanding ULBs by adding rural areas in them without taking the stakeholders concerned into confidence. And now, the BJP government is trying to influence the delimitation process to suit its own political motive in the civic polls,” Congress state unit president Pritam Singh alleged.

So far, the government has officially announced final delimitation for over 75 of the state’s 92 ULBs. This includes delimitation that has been finalized for five municipal corporations -- Haldwani, Haridwar, Rudrapur, Kotdwar and Rishikesh, while that of the other ULBs remains to be done.

It is worth recalling that there was a court stay on elections in local bodies of Bhatrojkhan in Kumaon and Roorkee in Garhwal administrative region.

Urban development minister Madan Kaushik, however, rebuffed the Congress’ allegations, saying there was no intervention from the government in the process at all.

“It is their (Congress’) insecurity talking... the government has not interfered with the process which is being carried out at the departmental level. Moreover, objections are being invited and heard wherever delimitation is taking place so they (Congress leaders) should present their grievances at the right platform instead of playing blame game over it,” Kaushik told HT.

First Published: Jan 08, 2018 20:27 IST