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MCD Mayoral Election

Bedlam in MCD: Chaos marks maiden meeting, mayoral election postponed

Published : Jan 07, 2023 15:08 IST

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Bedlam in MCD: Chaos marks maiden meeting, mayoral election postponed

BJP and AAP councillors clashing with each other ahead of the MCD mayoral election, in New Delhi on January 6.

BJP and AAP councillors clashing with each other ahead of the MCD mayoral election, in New Delhi on January 6. | Photo Credit: ANI

AAP, BJP members exchange blows, stage noisy protests.

The power tussle in the capital between the AAP-led Delhi government and the BJP-led Central government took an ugly turn on January 6 as Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) members from both parties exchanged blows and staged noisy protests inside the House during the MCD’s maiden meeting. Amid chaos, the mayoral election had to be postponed.

The next date for the mayoral election is yet to be announced by the office of Lt Governor Manoj Kumar Saxena.

In the civic body election in December, the AAP won 134 of the 250 wards while the BJP bagged 104. But even after losing the election, the BJP had been eyeing the post of Delhi mayor. On December 7, 2022, several BJP leaders, including Delhi BJP spokesperson Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga, had claimed that Delhi would have a BJP mayor again.

BJP’s IT department head Amit Malviya later said in a tweet that much would depend on who could hold the numbers, citing the example of Chandigarh where the BJP won all the three top posts of mayor, senior deputy mayor, and deputy mayor, despite winning fewer seats than the AAP in the Corporation election.

Incidentally, following the MCD election results, the AAP has been accusing the BJP of making efforts to poach the party’s newly elected members. But tensions came to a head after Lt Governor Saxena nominated 10 councillors in the MCD as “aldermen”, who are usually experts from different walks of life, on January 4. During the first House meeting of the MCD, AAP members protested against administration of oath to the aldermen before the elected members. As soon as a ruckus broke out, some councillors from the AAP and the BJP suffered minor injuries and were rushed to hospital.

AAP leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Twitter: “Article 243R of the Constitution clearly debars nominated members from voting in the House. Attempt to get them to vote in the House is unconstitutional.”

Earlier, Kejriwal had earlier sent a letter to Lt Governor Saxena alleging that the 10 aldermen were nominated to the MCD bypassing the Delhi government unconstitutionally, drifting away from established procedure. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also wrote to the Commissioner of the MCD, discouraging him from taking any further action.

As per tradition, all files pertaining to nominations are routed through the Delhi government’s Urban Development Department, which is MCD’s nodal department.

“Such files are required and have, in the past, always been put up to the Minister-in-Charge of the Urban Development Department/Ministry,” Kejriwal said in his letter to Lt Saxena. “It is, therefore, unfortunate that recently, in a complete departure from this settled practice, files were routed directly by the MCD Commissioner to the Lieutenant Governor, completely bypassing the Delhi government. This is contrary to law and the Constitution.”

However, the BJP blamed the AAP for the bedlam inside the House. BJP leader and Union Minister for Culture Meenakshi Lekhi defended the chairperson’s decision to administer oath to nominated members on a priority basis. “Had the order been reversed and nominated members asked to take oath later, then these people would not have allowed that to happen. Discretion was exercised in accordance with the law,” she was quoted as saying.

Other BJP leaders alleged that the AAP was a divided house over the election of the mayor. They added that the ruckus was a smokescreen to save the party from possible embarrassment after the mayoral election.

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