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Stray dogs, cleanliness, corruption: Delhi Dy Mayor lists AAP's priorities

Iqbal already served two previous terms as an MCD councillor and won a fresh mandate, third consecutive one, in last year's civic polls

Delhi Deputy mayor Aaley Muhammad Iqbal

Delhi Deputy mayor Aaley Muhammad Iqbal

ANI Politics
New Delhi [India], April 27 (ANI): The main priority for Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi Municpal Corporation would be to work on meeting the party's 10-point guarantee to the people in the national capital, focussing on issues such as cleanliness, sanitation and stray dogs, Deputy mayor Aaley Muhammad Iqbal said on Wednesday.
A councillor from the Chandni Mahal ward, Aaley Iqbal happens to be the first Muslim candidate to hold the position of Deputy Mayor in the national capital since 1977.
In a free-wheeling conversation with ANI on Wednesday, Iqbal said, "Our priorities will be centered around the 10 point-guarantee that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal gave to the public ahead of the municipal polls. Every single of these issues that we have promised to address is very important to us. Cleanliness, sanitation, and garbage mounds will remain focus areas for us going forward."
"Earlier, the MCD was synonymous with corruption. With the reins of the civic administration now with us, we have to work towards restoring the image of the MCD. Issues around the stray dog menace, roads, and MCD schools are also important to us," he added.
Iqbal resides in the Old Delhi area and was elected councillor on an AAP ticket from the Chandni Mahal Ward of the Matia Mahal Assembly constituency.
On the stray dog menace, the AAP leader said the party will focus on 100 per cent sterilisation of dogs and also look towards setting up 'shelters' for stray canines in the streets of the national capital.
"We have already held multiple meetings with veterinary experts on this. We have understood the problem and will try to bring respite to people who are grappling with the stray dog problem. Our first priority is 100 per cent sterilisation of dogs and ensure that their population doesn't increase. We have also put forward the idea of setting up dpg shelters. Adopting stray dogs could be another way forward but it will not offer a holisitic solution to the problem," Iqbal said.
He added, "We will also try to take animal and pet lovers into confidence before making any move in this direction. Many of them move court on issues pertaining to stray dogs, thereby putting further roadblocks for us. In addition to this, we also have a dedicated team, which is researching on cities and states that have successfully dealt with the stray dog problem. We will also look to tie up with corporations elsewhere. We will deliver on our promises and bring positive results to the people Delhi very soon."
Iqbal already served two previous terms as an MCD councillor and won a fresh mandate, third consecutive one, in last year's civic polls.
While in 2012 he contested as an independent candidate, Iqbal fought the civic polls on a Congress ticket in 2017.
Son of former Congress MLA Shoaib Iqbal, who switched over to the AAP in 2020 and was elected a legislator from the Matia Mahal Assembly constituency, Aaley Iqbal won the Chandni Mahal ward by a margin of 17, 134 votes.
Speaking further on concerns arising out of Delhi's drainage system, the Deputy Mayor said the Engineering and Maintenance department was working on the issue.
"The department is working on the issue. They are providing us a day-to-day reports from each of the 12 zones in Delhi. However, we have only just started and hopefully, our efforts would lead to a lasting solution to the problem very soon," he added.
Coming down hard on the BJP, which held civic reins in the national capital for 15 years, he accused them of "wasting" the time of people and the MCD during the first round of the polls to elect the mayor and deputy mayor.
"The BJP didn't have the numbers and received a lot of backlash from the public (over the ruckus in the MCD during the mayoral polls). They had to face defeat last time. It took us three attempts to elect the mayor, and, in the process, 80 days of the MCD and the 2 crore people of Delhi were wasted. They knew the public wouldn't forgive them this time and, hence, didn't put up any fight this time," he said.
Considered a popular leader in his region, Iqbal is affectionately nicknamed 'Aaley Bhai' by his supporters.
Asked if he has set sights on being elected an MLA, Iqbal said for now, he will only focus on his current responsibilities.
"I won't be able to comment much on what the future holds for me. However, my aim would be to give my 100 per cent to my immediate job. If Kejriwal-ji vests me with any additional responsibility in the coming days, I'd would look to fulfil the same with utmost sincerity. The post of deuty mayor brings with it a huge responsibility and currently, I am focussing entirely on fulfilling the responsibilities that I have been entusted with," Iqbal said.
On the ongoing probe agaisnt CM Kejriwal and former Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, who is already under judicial custody in connection with alleged irregularities in the Delhi excise policy case, Iqbal said, "All that I would say is that these cases are politically motivated."
He also dismissed Congress's claims of the AAP "losing support" among Muslim voters.
"There is nothing like that. These are baseless claims. If that was the case, how did I win by such a handsome margin? I come from a area where 90 per cent residents are Muslims," Iqbal added.
Earlier in the day, AAP candidates Shelley Oberoi and Aaley Muhammad Iqbal were elected as mayor, and deputy mayor of the MCD, after BJP candidates Shikha Rai and Soni Pal withdrew nominations.
After the re-election, Aaley Iqbal took to Twitter to say that he will continue to work for improving amenities in Delhi and serving its residents.
"Heartfelt thanks to the people of Delhi. With your wishes and of Chief Minister Shri @ArvindKejriwal ji, I am re-elected unopposed as Deputy Mayor. Serving the people of Delhi will be my first priority. I will constantly strive for it," he said in a tweet.
The Deputy Mayor said further he will take all councillors along for a "developed and progressive Delhi".
Both Oberoi and Iqbal completed their 38-day tenure as Mayor on March 31. As per the norms, the election process needs to be completed before April 30.
The post of mayor in the national capital sees five single-year terms on a rotational basis with the first year reserved for women, the second for the open category, the third for the reserved category and the remaining two again for the open category. Delhi gets a new mayor after the end of a financial year.
The earlier election for the post of mayor saw high drama with AAP and BJP councillors clashing with each other during one of the meetings. Finally, the elections were held in the fourth attempt. AAP also went to the Supreme Court over the elections.
The municipal elections in Delhi were held on December 4, last year and the results were announced on December 7.
AAP came out victorious with 134 seats out of 250. However, the BJP finished a close second, bagging 104 seats.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Apr 27 2023 | 7:35 AM IST

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