The House of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) failed to conduct the Mayor’s election for the third time in one month, after presiding officer Satya Sharma (BJP) adjourned the meeting on Monday owing to ruckus.
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Following the adjournment of the House meeting, senior AAP leader Manish Sisodia said the party had decided to seek the Supreme Court’s intervention for “impartial mayoral elections”.
Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said that if the AAP moved the top court, the latter should give a “commitment that it would abide by the court’s order”.
In the run-up to initiating the process for the Mayor’s election, Ms. Sharma announced that the 10 aldermen – nominated to the MCD by the Lieutenant-Governor – would vote in the elections to the office of the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and of six members to the civic body’s standing committee.
She added that the three above-mentioned internal elections will be held simultaneously, while AAP councillors opposed both decisions; the party’s leader of the house in the MCD, Mukesh Goel said that Ms. Sharma’s decisions were contrary to the provisions in the Delhi Municipal Corporation (DMC) Act.
According to the DMC Act, the aldermen do not have voting rights in meetings of the House, in which the internal elections are held.
Simultaneously, the provisions in the Act note the appointment of the presiding officer is for the Mayor’s election, with MCD officials stating that the latter’s role comes to an end after the Mayor is elected.
However, Ms. Sharma told The Hindu that her decisions were not contrary to provisions in the Act, and added that she decided on holding the three elections simultaneously, since “the AAP councillors wanted to specifically disrupt the elections of the six members to the standing committee.”
“This is because they (AAP) disrupted the previous two House meetings by creating a ruckus. Further, I decided to give voting rights to the aldermen based on a May 2016 judgment [ North Delhi Municipal Corporation vs Onika Mehrotra and others] of the Delhi High Court,” said Ms. Sharma.
However, MCD officials clarified that the said High Court judgment do not mention that aldermen can vote in the meetings of the House.
Delhi BJP working president Virendra Sachdeva – who also took a stance similar to that of Ms. Sharma’s – said that a “top law officer of the country” had advised that the nominated councillors had the right to vote in the Mayor and Deputy Mayor elections. “Probably, understanding this legal advice, the Presiding Officer of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi meeting decided that the nominated corporators can vote,” said Mr. Sachdeva.
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Mr. Goel said that the BJP, through the presiding officer, had planned to postpone the Mayor’s election, adding that Ms. Sharma had also said that AAP MLAs Akhilesh Pati Tripathi and Sanjeev Jha should not be allowed to vote in the Mayor and Deputy Mayor elections.
The two MLAs are among the 14 MLAs who are nominated by the Delhi Assembly Speaker to vote in the Mayor and Deputy Mayor elections.
After the AAP opposed this announcement, BJP councillors raised slogans demanding the exit of the two MLAs, while the ruckus led to Ms. Sharm’s call for the House to be adjourned till the next date.
“The decision was based on the two MLAs having some case in the sessions court, for which they got relief from the High Court. The presiding officer’s decision was irrelevant but it was enough for the BJP councillors to cause a ruckus, and further adjourn the House,” said Mr. Goel.
Ms. Sharma, however, pinned the blame on the AAP, stating that the latter created an environment that was not suitable to hold the internal elections.