Politics over sanitation strike goes on as streets stink in East Delhi

What is the long term solution to the repeated problem of strike in MCD? Replying to this question from a reporter on Monday, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said: “The long term solution is change. Remove BJP (from MCD)”.

Even as east Delhi residents continued to suffer due to the strike of East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) employees that entered its fifth day on Monday, the stakeholders — political parties and sanitation workers’ union — based on their party affiliation, continued to blame each other for the perennial problem plaguing the civic body.

While this is the third strike of EDMC employees over non-payment of salary ever since the AAP has come back to power in 2015, the current crisis has returned only a few months before the city goes to municipal polls.

Municipal elections are likely to be held in April-May. While the BJP has been in power in the MCDs for the past decade, the Congress, which has been in the Opposition for as many years, is looking up to the civic polls for its revival in city politics after being washed away in 2015 Delhi assembly elections.

The upcoming elections would be the first full-fledged municipal elections for the AAP, after it made an ‘impressive’ debut in municipal bypolls held for 13 seats last year. The party bagged five seats and scored more than the Congress, which got four seats.The BJP won three seats.
Even as chief minister Arvind Kejriwal hit out at critics by reminding them that the BJP ruled MCDs in the city, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari advised the chief minister of “not playing with numbers related to funds provided by the government to the civic body and announce a special package for the EDMC”.

Accusing the BJP of doing politics in guise of the strike, an AAP leader pointed at the nature of the protest, wherein AAP leaders were being targetted by sanitation workers instead of the BJP leaders who are in power in MCD.

“If the MCD is not being able to pay salary to its employees, they should be questioning the BJP leaders ruling it. No protest has been held outside the mayor’s residence. Instead they are protesting outside the residence and office of AAP MLAs and ministers,” a senior AAP leader said.

A union leader, however, played down such allegations saying they started their protest from the EDMC headquarters.
“We raised slogans against the mayor, commissioner and other leaders as well. But they immediately called a meeting and clarified that the MCD has no funds to distribute salary. In the given circumstances, the only hope we have is from the state government, which releases funds to the municipal corporations. Moreover, after trifurcation, rules were made that the state government will help the corporation in case of financial crisis. Prior to that, the Central government was the controlling authority,” said Sanjay Gehlot, president of MCD Swachhata Karmchari Union.

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