New Delhi, Apr 16: Delhi Government's proposal to split the MCD into five smaller bodies has caused fissures within the Congress with five party MLAs today complaining to Sonia Gandhi that division of the civic body will severely affect the party's prospects in the municipal polls next year.
The MLAs, led by senior city Congress leader and MLA from Kalkaji Subhash Chopra, had a 35-minute-long meeting with Gandhi during which they strongly opposed the plan to split the civic body and complained against Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit's "style of functioning".
"We told madam that the party will suffer very badly in the municipal election early next year if MCD is split. We also told her that the matter was never discussed in the party before the government took an in principle decision last week to divide the MCD," said an MLA after the meeting.
Besides Chopra, the delegation included Uttam Nagar MLA Mukesh Sharma, Kasturba Nagar MLA Neeraj Basoya, Mustafabad MLA Hasan Ahmed, Timarpur MLA Surinder Pal Singh and former MLA Ashok Singh.
Apparently, several top DPCC officials including its chief J P Aggarwal have strong reservations against the move, besides most of the 74 Congress councillors in MCD.
In a politically-sensitive move, the Delhi cabinet last week had decided "in principle" to split the MCD into five smaller bodies ahead of the 2012 municipal polls.
A section of the city Congress had expressed reservation about the move after the Cabinet decision, saying the issue should have been discussed at the party forum before taking a final decision.
Sensing opposition against the move in certain quarters, Dikshit had called a Congress Legislature Party meeting on Wednesday. Most of the MLAs who attended the meeting supported dividing the civic agency but opposed increasing the number of wards from current 272 to 408 as suggested by a high-level committee.
The Cabinet had accepted the recommendations of the high-level committee, headed by Health Minister A K Walia, which suggested splitting the civic body into five smaller municipalities. The committee had also suggested increasing the total number of wards from current 272 to around 408.
The Delhi government, which has been critical of MCD's functioning under the BJP, had appointed senior BJP leaders V K Malhotra and Jagdish Mukhi to the high-level committee but both of them had resigned from it just ahead of the first meeting, accusing the government of trying to divide the MCD to gain political mileage.
The committee examined recommendations of various previous committees on reform in MCD and broadly agreed on the recommendations of the V K Malhotra committee as well as Deep Chand Bandhu Committee, both of which had suggested splitting the civic body into five units. PTI