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Sanitation priority, women safety on radar: new Mayor Aggarwal

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Sanitation, education and health would be the focus areas of the North Municipal Corporation and it will work on creating safer environment for women, new mayor of the civic body Preeti Aggarwal said today.

Aggarwal, 43, and a graduate in science from University is a first-time councillor, who won from Rohini-F ward on a ticket.

She was elected unopposed as the mayor today and the new team of the area's civic body also took charge. However, chaotic scenes were witnessed as the newly elected North municipal body for the first time with some "outsiders" entering the House and chanting slogans of 'Modi, Modi' and 'Jai Shri Ram', soon after her

During an interaction with reporters later, she also asserted that the party would work with the Opposition to "make the image of the NDMC more positive".

"I have a three-point formula in mind -- Swachhta, Shiksha aur Swasthya (sanitation, education and health). And, our job would be to fulfil the dreams of Prime Minister Sanitation would be my top priority," she said.

Sanitation is a major governance issue in and the BJP, which has been ruling the MCD for the last 10 years, has faced criticism from residents and opposition parties for "lack of cleanliness" in the city.

The and the Congress have continuously attacked the BJP-led corporations, alleging that the three civic bodies have turned the city into a "mound of garbage".

The three civic bodies had faired poorly in the Swachh Bharat survey which was released recently by the Centre. In the 'Swachh Bharat' reckoning of 434 cities for 2016-17, areas falling under the three municipal corporations were at a low -- the EDMC (196), SDMC (202) and NDMC (279).

Aggarwal said her aim would be to improve the ranking of the NDMC, and "you will see, our ranking will improve".

"We are in talks with RWAs and schools, to improve sanitation level as well as bring greater awareness," she said.

On women safety issue, she said, "Dark spots would be identified in the city and we will illuminate those areas, to deter crime. Also, we are planning to impart self-defence skills, like karate to school girls. As a a woman mayor, women and girls should feel that I am with them."

When asked about the NDMC's old website, the mayor said, "Soon a new website would be launched".

"Aggarwal was a part of the cow awareness cell of the - Gau Vansh Vikas Prakoshth where she actively promoted the idea that cow is like member of a family. She has held the positions of General Secretary of Mahila Morcha and Secretary of unit," the NDMC said in a statement later.

Besides, Vijay Kumar Bhagat was also chosen unopposed as the deputy mayor as no other party had filed nominations for the two posts.

Six members of the NDMC's Standing Committee were also elected -- Jai Prakash (ward No. 80-N), Jayendra Dabas (ward No. 37-N), Ramesh Kumar (ward No. 95-N) and Tilak Raj Kataria (BJP) (Ward No. 63-N) from the BJP; Seema Tahira (ward No. 87 -N) from the Congress and AAP's Vikas Goel (ward No. 72-N). BJP's Aadesh Kumar Gupta (ward No. 98-N) had withdrawn his nomination.

In the high-stakes MCD polls held on April 23, the had fielded all fresh faces to counter "anti-incumbency".

After the polls, the saffron party's strength in the 104 -member Municipal Corporation House is 64, while AAP has 21 and Congress 15 councillors. The BSP has one member, while two had won the independent candidates.

The post of mayor sees five single-year terms on a rotation basis, with the first year being reserved for women, the second for open category, third for reserved category, and the remaining two also being in the open category.

In the polls, Aggarwal had defeated AAP's Abhinav Mishra in the elections by a margin of 5,413 votes. She had bagged 11,723 votes, while Mishra finished second with 6,310.

Incidentally, last year too, Sanjiv Nayyar was unanimously elected the mayor on April 28.

The erstwhile unified Municipal Corporation of was trifurcated in 2012 into the NDMC, the SDMC and the EDMC. The first MCD polls after the trifurcation was held the same year.

The had bagged 181 of the 270 wards in the civic polls.

has a total of 272 wards -- NDMC (104 wards), SDMC (104) and EDMC (64).

While to Maujpur ward in east was held on May 14, Sarai Pipal in north will go to polls on May 21. Elections in these two wards were postponed due to death of candidates.

Leader of Opposition Rakesh Kumar (AAP) in his speech urged the mayor to ensure disbursing of salaries to all employees, especially, sanitation workers by first week of every month.

"We do not want to do politics, but work with your party (BJP). But, any step or policy which is against the interest of the people, would be opposed tooth and nail by the AAP," he said.

The Congress councillors later on also sparred with the new mayor, alleging that their party was "being deliberately ignored".

Malka Ganj Councillor Guddi Devi claimed the had to "beg" to authorities to get a room in the Civic Centre office.

Aggarwal in her response said a room has been alloted to the Congress party, and the key is with Seema Tahira, the Congress councillor from Bazar Sita Ram, who was also elected a member of the Standing Committee of the NDMC.

After few hours of proceedings, the House was adjourned.

Incidentally, the linguistic and sartorial diversity of India was on full display, as councillors, besides Hindi, also took oath in native languages, including Urdu, Maithili and Punjabi.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, May 19 2017. 00:42 IST