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Parliament Nod To Bill For Unification Of 3 Delhi Municipal Corporations

Replying to the discussion on the bill, Home Minister Shah said it was a mistake by the previous Congress regime to trifurcate the Municipal Corporation of Delhi

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Parliament on Tuesday passed the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill-2022 to unify three civic bodies in the national capital, with Home Minister Amit Shah stating in Rajya Sabha that it was necessitated due to the step-motherly treatment meted out by the AAP government towards the local bodies.

The Rajya Sabha gave its nod to the bill through a voice vote after negating all the amendments sought by the opposition, including a motion to send the proposed legislation to a select committee.

The demand for the division of votes on an amendment moved by Sanjay Singh of the AAP was rejected by Deputy Chairman Harivansh, who said it was moved after the stipulated time.

Replying to the discussion on the bill, Home Minister Shah said it was a mistake by the previous Congress regime to trifurcate the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and the current bill has been necessitated after the AAP-led Delhi government meted out step-motherly treatment to the civic bodies.

"The way AAP government in Delhi meted out step-motherly treatment towards the three civic bodies, we had to bring this bill. You can have animosity with us, but what animosity you have with the people of Delhi. They have voted for you in government...," Shah asked.

"This bill is as per the Constitution. The central government has powers to enact laws in the Union Territory of Delhi... This bill is from no angle an attack on the federal structure," Shah said, allaying concerns raised by some opposition members.

Delhi is only a union territory and not a full state, he said, adding that Parliament has competence to frame laws for Delhi.

He also claimed that the central government has doubled allocation to Delhi and has not reduced a single penny due to the Union Territory, but the Delhi government has not paid the three civic bodies Rs 40,561 crore as per the 5th Finance Commission and instead gave only Rs 21,000 crore which is the reason for the plight of these bodies.

Shah alleged that this was done by the AAP government to create panic in Delhi so that people vote for them in civic polls. "But people know everything and your dreams will never come true." "The people of Delhi know it all. You are harassing the municipal corporations and, in turn, harassing the people of Delhi, we will tell this to people," he said.

"Today the situation is such that it is impossible to run the three civic bodies and that is why this bill has been brought to unify the three corporations," he said, adding that had the AAP-led Delhi government not treated them in such a manner, the three civic bodies could have functioned normally.

According to the bill, passed by Lok Sabha last week, the unification of the municipal corporations will ensure synergised and strategic planning and optimal utilisation of resources.

Dismissing the opposition charge that the ruling dispensation at the Centre brought in the bill out of fear of losing the civic elections, Shah said the BJP has no such phobia and is ready to contest the polls soon after delimitation.

"It is being alleged that the bill has been brought due to fear of losing elections. But if elections are held after six months, will you lose," he asked opposition members.

He said the BJP has no fear of losing or arrogance of victory and is fully geared up to contest the polls.

Shah also took a dig at the AAP government for opening so many liquor vends in Delhi, saying it seems as if the entire Delhi will turn into a drinking place.

"Those who say we are power hungry should see themselves in the mirror. We have neither fear of losing nor arrogance of victory. We come from a party which once had only two members and those who are teasing us 'Hum do, hamara do' forget that in a democracy the family is not all supreme but the 130 crore people of India are," he noted.

Shah also attacked the Congress for talking about democracy and rights and said, "The Congress has no right to talk about democracy as it snatched away the rights of every individual and jailed over 2 lakh workers of opposition parties during the Emergency. All newspapers were censored and even songs were censored." "Those who forget history become history themselves. We do not forget history," he quipped.

The home minister also hit out at the TMC, saying it had deferred many civic body polls in West Bengal and is today talking about a delay in polls in Delhi. He also claimed that the new unified civic body in Delhi will be administered by a special officer and not an MLA being appointed as political administrator as in Bengal.

"Our way is to win elections through democratic means and not by killing workers of opponents or raping their wives. Our way to power is through democracy," he noted.

(PTI)