MCD polls: Kejriwal says RWAs to be empowered financially, politically if AAP wins; BJP claims 'trick' won't work
Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) in the national capital will be granted ''financial and political'' powers besides the status of ''mini councillors'' if the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) comes to power in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Tuesday.
Naming it ''Janta Chalayegi MCD'' (Public will run MCD) campaign, Kejiwal appealed to the public to vote for them and get their tasks done ''swiftly'' through RWAs.
Addressing a press conference just few days ahead of the civic polls, he said the idea behind this vision is to ''make people the owners of Delhi ('janta ko Dilli ka malik banana hai')''.
Resident Welfare Associations in the city said if the promise is fulfilled, it would prove beneficial for the people but past experience does not evoke much confidence, with president of United RWAs Joint Action (URJA), confederation of more than 2,500 RWAs in Delhi, Atul Goyal saying the announcement seems to be a ''hollow promise''. The Delhi BJP claimed that people will not fall for AAP's trick.
''If AAP comes to power in MCD, we will launch 'Janata Chalayegi MCD' campaign where the RWAs will be given the status of a 'mini parshad' (mini councillor). We are going to really empower RWAs. We will give them political and financial powers. Our objective is to decentralise power and give it in the hands of the public. Every citizen of Delhi will be like the chief minister of the national capital,'' said Kejriwal, who is also AAP's national convener.
''RWAs will be given funds to run their offices. RWAs will be empowered. The real purpose behind this is to make the people of Delhi take their own decisions. I appeal to all RWAs to support AAP.
''We will frame a transparent framework. We will rely on online platforms also, so that MLAs, councillors and RWAs all know where the problem is and there is accountability. The tasks of public will be completed swiftly,'' he further said.
The civic polls, spanning 250 wards, are due on December 4 and are largely being seen as a contest among the AAP, BJP and the Congress.
Both AAP and BJP have exuded confidence that they will emerge victorious in the polls. Votes will be counted on December 7.
''People will decide the policies of MCD and the government will work upon their orders, the common man need not run after politicians anymore. People will be able to get their electricity, water, drainage related issues among others resolved at RWA offices itself. RWA will have the powers of resolving such matters.
''RWAs will get funds to run their offices and handle basic issues of the public. Just like councillors are the leaders of their wards, 'RWAs' will be considered as the leaders of their areas,'' Kejriwal said.
The chief minister also dismissed a series of sting videos on AAP leaders allegedly released by the BJP in the run-up to the December 4 municipal polls as ''awful and boring films which no one wants to watch''.
Responding to a question, the AAP supremo asserted that ''masses are mature'' and parties which have considered them as fools have ''got finished''.
Ashish Sood, Convenor of Election Committee of Delhi BJP for MCD polls, said Kejriwal's ''announcement of adding RWA to MCD's working is an electoral announcement''. ''The experience during Kejriwal's rule of last eight years shows that he has given no respect to RWAs or Mohalla Sabhas. People will not fall for this trick,'' he said.
URJA president Goyal told PTI that there is a big difference between what you claim and what you do. ''We have seen this in the past as well''.
''RWAs are neutral bodies. We don't take side in the elections. Just days ahead of the election, you are trying to lure us. We are influencers, we don't take sides. But such announcements just before the elections are telling,'' he said.
Goyal said there are thousands of RWAs in the city and if the AAP government is serious they should bring an RWA Act. PTI KND/GJS/VIT/VA GJS CK
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