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Asha Ram Verma elected new Mayor

By Our Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI, APRIL 12. The senior Congress Councillor from Laxmi Nagar, Asha Ram Verma, was today elected the new Mayor of Delhi. Ramesh Datta, his veteran party colleague from Minto Road, was declared elected as the Deputy Mayor.

At a special session of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi House at Town Hall here, Mr. Verma defeated his rival Yogender Chandolia of the Bharatiya Janata Party by a margin of 88 votes. Following the voting for the post of Delhi Mayor this afternoon, the outgoing Mayor and Presiding Officer, Ashok K. Jain, announced that Mr. Verma polled 106 votes, and Mr. Chandolia got 18 votes, while two votes were declared invalid. As per the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, the Delhi Mayor and his deputy is elected every year.

Mr. Datta defeated the Sangam Vihar Councillor in South Delhi, Sarita Choudhary, of the BJP by 78 votes, after Congress Councillor from Seelampur, Zamir Ahmed Munna, at the direction of the party leadership withdrew his nomination for the post of Deputy Mayor. Of the 122 votes, Mr. Datta polled 98 votes, Ms. Chouhary got 20 votes, while four votes were declared invalid. At its meeting the House nominated the two Congress Councillors, Jagdish Pradhan, (the Deputy Leader of House), and Ajit Chaudhary, who is Chairman of the Horticulture Committee, and the BJP Councillor from Rohini, Vijender Kumar Gupta, for the high-power Standing Committee. Much to their embarrassment, the Leader of the House, Satbir Singh, and the former Chairman of the Standing Committee, Mukesh Goel, had to withdraw their nomination papers for the membership of the Standing Committee.

The oldest elected member of the House, Mr. Verma was born on September 15, 1929. For more than 30 years, he worked in the various capacities in the Government of India and retired from the Lok Sabha secretariat as Class-I officer. During his service in the Lok Sabha he was actively associated with several Congressmen and Union Ministers including H.K.L. Bhagat, Mohsina Kidwai, Ashok Gehlot and the late Chandulal Chandrakar. For ten years from 1992 to 2002, Mr. Verma assisted Sushil Kumar Shinde, now the Maharashtra Chief Minister, when he was the general secretary of the All India Congress Committee. "He is my ideal and I seek inspiration from him (Mr. Shinde)," Mr. Verma said after taking over the charge of Delhi Mayor.

Though elected to the MCD House for the first time in the 2002 municipal elections, Mr. Verma was elected as Chairman of the Scheduled Caste Committee, besides being the member of the Standing Committee, Conservancy and Sanitation Committee.

Elected to the civic body as early as early 70s, Mr. Datta would turn 60 on April 19. Head of the Nehru Brigade of the Congress Mr. Datta was Chairman of the City Zone in MCD. Being in public life for more than four decades, Mr. Datta is considered as the grass-root worker of the party. Members of the Nehru Brigade could be seen at almost all the party functions. Coming from a Brahmin family, Mr. Datta is considered to be a leader of the safai-karamcharis, slum dwellers and the poorest of the poor in the Capital.

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