Ruckus delays Delhi's mayor election again; AAP, BJP hold each other responsible for deadlock

NewsDrum Desk
24 Jan 2023

New Delhi, Jan 24 (PTI) The high-stakes Delhi mayor election was stalled for the second time this month as the House was adjourned till further notice by the LG-appointed presiding officer following a ruckus by some councillors. The adjournment prompted councillors, 13 MLAs and three Rajya Sabha MPs of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to sit on a "dharna" for nearly four hours against the BJP at the Civic Centre, demanding immediate polls.

Both BJP and AAP members held each other responsible for the derailment of the proceedings.

The day began with the oath-taking of 249 councillors amid unusual heavy deployment of civil defence personnel and marshals. Paramilitary personnel, who were equipped with anti-riot equipment, were also deployed outside the House.

Soon after the oath-taking exercise was completed, the House was adjourned for a 15-minute break.

When the House reconvened, disruption ensued amid sloganeering by BJP and AAP members who came face-to-face, following which Presiding Officer Satya Sharma, a BJP councillor, adjourned the House until further notice, angering AAP councillors. Some BJP councillors left their seats and raised slogans.

AAP MLA Durgesh Pathak, who along with his party's members sat on a "dharna" in the House, demanded that BJP councillors return to the House for the mayoral elections.

Refusing to vacate the house, the AAP councillors spent their time singing religious hymns and patriotic songs. Some of the songs were: 'Achyutam Keshavam' and 'Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram'.

AAP members called off their "dharna" around 7.30 pm amid chants of 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' and 'Arvind Kejriwal Zindabad'.

Rekha Gupta, the BJP's mayoral candidate and a three-time councillor from Shalimar Bagh, also staged a "dharna" at the Civic Centre. Gupta claimed that the AAP started the ruckus that led to the adjournment of the House.

Senior AAP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia asked the BJP to accept its defeat in the MCD polls and help ensure smooth conduct of mayoral elections.

"Everyone saw the drama of the BJP. The public had got fed up with their rule in the MCD. They gave mountains of garbage to Delhi and ruined the entire capital," Sisodia said.

"First, they avoided the MCD elections and when the public showed them the door, they are running away from the election of mayor," he said.

Delhi BJP MP Manoj Tiwari alleged the AAP was running away from the elections of mayor and deputy mayor despite having majority in the MCD.

The North East Delhi MP also alleged that AAP leaders, including party councillors, misbehaved with BJP members.

This is the second time within 15 days that a ruckus has led to the adjournment of the House and the mayor could not be elected.

After the 15-minute adjournment on Tuesday, BJP councillors went towards the benches where AAP councillors were sitting and raised slogans. A few councillors from both parties then entered into a heated exchange on one of the aisles of the House.

This prompted Presiding Officer Sharma to adjourn the House till a further date. "A House cannot run like this. This House is adjourned till next date," Satya Sharma said.

Enraged by the move, the AAP accused the saffron party of adjourning the House because it does not have the number for the mayoral polls.

"The BJP doesn't have numbers that's why he has adjourned the House. All our councillors are sitting here. If you have guts then come and get voting done. Respect the mandate of the people of Delhi," Pathak had said earlier in the day.

Security personnel were deployed inside the municipal House, the Civic Centre premises and even the Well to avoid a repeat of the chaos seen during the last meeting on January 6.

AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh alleged that this is a very dangerous trend started by the BJP. "This is an insult to the mandate of the people and democracy," he said.

AAP MLA Atishi said that the BJP lost the election but still they are not accepting the mandate. "Have some respect for the Constitution. We appeal again that please get the elections done soon," she told reporters after AAP members ended their "dharna" inside the House.

On January 6, the maiden meeting of the newly elected MCD House was adjourned without electing the mayor and the deputy mayor amid loud protests by AAP councillors over the presiding officer's decision to administer oath to the 10 aldermen first.

Though aldermen do not have the right to vote in the mayor polls, they hold significant power and play an important role in the elections of the standing committees and MCD in-house and ward committee meetings.

The civic polls were held on December 4 and the counting of votes took place on December 7.

The AAP had emerged as a clear winner in the polls, bagging 134 wards and ending the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) 15-year rule in the civic body. The BJP won 104 wards to finish second while the Congress won nine seats.

Shelly Oberoi is the AAP's contender for the post of mayor. The BJP has nominated Rekha Gupta. The nominees for the post of deputy mayor are Aaley Mohammad Iqbal and Jalaj Kumar (AAP) and Kamal Bagri (BJP).

Besides the mayor and the deputy mayor, six members of the MCD's standing committee are also slated to be elected during the municipal House.

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

Besides the mayor and the deputy mayor, six members of the MCD's standing committee are also slated to be elected during the municipal House.

Delhi will thus get a woman mayor this year. The voters for the election of the mayor are 250 councillors, seven Lok Sabha and three Rajya Sabha MPs from Delhi and 14 MLAs nominated by the Legislative Assembly.

The Delhi Assembly Speaker has nominated one BJP MLA and 13 AAP MLAs to the MCD.  PTI KND SSH VA GVS VIT BUN VA BUN ANB ANB

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