MCD House adjourned for the day as AAP, BJP councillors spar

Newly-elected Mayor Shelly Oberoi alleged that some BJP Councillors threw the ballot box and tore ballot papers during the election for the standing committee.

February 23, 2023 12:08 pm | Updated February 24, 2023 01:45 pm IST - New Delhi

Scuffle erupts among BJP and AAP Councillors over the disruption in the standing committee member elections in MCD House, New Delhi on February 23, 2023.

Scuffle erupts among BJP and AAP Councillors over the disruption in the standing committee member elections in MCD House, New Delhi on February 23, 2023. | Photo Credit: Muneef Khan

A day after running the House beyond midnight, the MCD assembled on February 23 only to be adjourned for the day, within an hour of assembling after BJP and AAP members had differences over carrying mobiles during voting.

While the BJP is protesting against Mayor Shelly Oberoi’s decision to allow members to carry mobile phones to the booth area during the election of the MCD panel, the AAP accused the saffron party of resorting to “hooliganism” because of its defeat in the mayoral polls.

On February 23, the House met at 8.30 a.m. but was adjourned for an hour amid sloganeering. As the House reconvened at 9.30 a.m., the ruckus continued and the Mayor adjourned the proceedings.

Physical clashes erupt between AAP and BJP councillors in MCD House

Addressing a press conference at the civic centre, Ms. Oberoi alleged that some BJP Councillors threw the ballot box and tore ballot papers during the election for the standing committee.

“It’s shameful what the BJP councillors did. The ballot box was thrown, ballot papers were torn and I was attacked,” she said, adding that the BJP Councillors gheraoed the well of the House and the proceedings had to be adjourned 13 times.

“The BJP resorted to unconstitutional behaviour in the house once again. It is the loss of the people of Delhi. BJP’s Rekha Gupta and Amit Nagpal resorted to hooliganism in the House and we will take action against them,” she said.

She further said there is no such act that says mobile phones are banned while casting votes.

Senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh alleged that the BJP is “not being able to accept their defeat” in the MCD mayoral polls.

“When the BJP resorted to hooliganism, 47 votes were already cast for the standing committee. Election can never be conducted in this manner. What if the BJP resorts to hooliganism again after 100 votes and asks to consider them invalid?” Senior AAP leader Atishi said.

BJP Councillor have demanded that the 40 votes cast till Feb. 23 morning for the standing committee members should be declared null and void as the Councillor carried mobiles phone with them.

However, the Mayor said there is no rule against the Councillor carrying their mobile phones. As both the sides are refusing to budge, there appears to be no end to the impasse.

The February 22 ruckus

The House proceedings began around 11:30 a.m. on February 22 and business was conducted smoothly as AAP’s Oberoi emerged victorious in the mayoral poll, defeating BJP’s Rekha Gupta by a margin of 34 votes.

After the mayoral election, the House was briefly adjourned and then it resumed to elect the Deputy Mayor, again AAP’s Aaley Mohammed Iqbal winning the election, defeating BJP’s Kamal Bagri. Mayor Oberoi then adjourned the House for an hour.

As the Mayor permitted carrying mobile phone to the booth area, BJP members opposed it.

Many of them later trooped to the Well of the House, and chanted anti-Arvind Kejriwal slogans.

“People who don’t maintain order in the House, will be thrown out,” the newly-elected Mayor said.

Carrying of mobile phone and pen was not permitted during the proceedings of the election for the posts of Mayor and Deputy Mayor. The BJP members were opposing the decision to allow it.

The Mayor adjourned the House around 6.35 p.m. Many members had already voted by then.

BJP, AAP members exchange blows

Several members of the BJP and the AAP on Wednesday night exchanged blows and hurled plastic bottles at each other in the chamber of the MCD House, on a day the city got its new Mayor.

A few BJP members claimed that some of their fellow party councillors got hit with objects flung in the air, while Mayor Shelly Oberoi alleged that some BJP councillors tried to attack her during the proceedings to hold the election to pick the six members of the Standing Committee of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).

The incident took place around 11 p.m. It happened during the time the newly-elected mayor had adjourned proceedings.

Raja Iqbal Singh, former North Delhi Mayor said, "I got hit in the back with a bottle, and there were apples and other things being flung around in the air during the commotion. It was unimaginable."

The whole incident was triggered by bitter argument between the the members of the two parties over the mode of conducting the election to the six members of the Standing Committee.

"We have been asking them to hold election afresh, since mobile phone was taken to the booth area earlier by members as the mayor had allowed it. Later, when she disallowed it after we protested, we had asked for starting the process afresh, but the mayor was adamant," BJP councillor Shikha Rai alleged.

Ms. Oberoi, an AAP leader, alleged that many BJP councillors tried to "attack" her when she was conducting the election.

"The extent of BJP hooliganism is that they are trying to attack a woman," she was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the AAP later tonight.

Chief Minister and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal reacting to it said its "absolutely shocking and unacceptable".

AAP MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj alleged that the BJP was not allowing the standing committee elections to take place.

"We want elections (to six members of Standing Committee). Despite the Supreme Court's order, BJP is still creating ruckus and not allowing elections to take place, but the House will continue to function until the election process is over," he tweeted in Hindi.

Senior BJP leader Vijender Gupta held a press conference past midnight and slammed the AAP and Kejriwal for the incident today.

Seven candidates are in the fray for the six members of the standing committee.

On February 17, the Supreme Court had ordered issuing of a notice within 24 hours for convening the first meeting of the MCD to fix the date of elections for the Mayor, the Deputy Mayor and the members of the standing committee of the civic body.

(With inputs from PTI)

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