MCD Polls: After much delay, stage set to elect new mayor
The municipal House is slated to begin at 11 am during which the election to the posts of mayor, deputy mayor and six members of the standing committee will be held
After much delay since the high-stakes civic polls in Delhi, the stage is set for the election of a new mayor on Wednesday following a Supreme Court order.
The municipal House is slated to begin at 11 am during which the election to the posts of mayor, deputy mayor and six members of the standing committee will be held. The exercise to hold elections to the top post will be carried out after three failed attempts.
Last week, Delhi Lt Governor VK Saxena gave his nod to convene the municipal House for holding the mayoral election following the apex court order. The top court on February 17 ordered the issuance of a notice within 24 hours for convening the first meeting of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to fix the date of elections for the mayor, the deputy mayor and the members of the standing committee of the civic body.
The court issued the order after hearing a plea moved by the ruling Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) mayoral candidate Shelly Oberoi, who had sought an early conduct of the election.
In a shot in the arm for the ruling AAP, the apex court also held that the members nominated to the MCD by the Lt Governor cannot vote to elect the mayor.
According to the Delhi Municipal Corporation (DMC) Act, 1957, the mayor and the deputy mayor are to be elected in the very first session of the House after the civic polls.
However, it has been over two months since the municipal elections were held on December 4.
A month after the municipal polls, the House had convened for the first time on January 6. It was adjourned following acrimonious exchanges between members of the BJP and the AAP.
The second and third meetings on January 24 and February 6 also failed to carry out the exercise, and were both adjourned without electing a mayor, triggering much political bickering among parties in the two months since the civic polls.
The crisis also impacted the annual budget proceedings and the schedule of taxes for 2023-24 was passed by the Special Officer of the MCD on February 15, since the deliberative wing has not come into place.
According to the norms, the schedule of taxes has to be passed by the House before or on February 15.
However, the remaining budget is expected to be passed by the House before March 31, as required, since the new deliberative wing led by a mayor is likely to come into place on February 22.
As per the direction from the Lt Governor, the House that will convene on Wednesday will be a reconvening of the adjourned first House on January 6.
Both the BJP and AAP members had held each other responsible for the derailment of the proceedings.
The municipal House in Delhi then convened again on February 6 as the city hoped to get a mayor.
It, however, failed to elect a mayor for the third time in a row following ruckus over the decision to allow aldermen to vote, even as the AAP had alleged a "planned conspiracy" by the BJP to stall the process and said it would move the Supreme Court to seek a "court-monitored" election.
The petitioner, Oberoi, had moved the apex court on February 7.
A bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha and Justice JB Pardiwala, during a hearing on Friday, directed that the election of the Delhi mayor shall be conducted at the first MCD meet and once elected, the mayor shall preside over the deputy mayor's election.
The AAP had emerged as a clear winner in the December 4 polls, bagging 134 wards and ending the BJP's 15-year rule in the civic body. The BJP won 104 wards to finish second, while the Congress won nine seats in the 250-member municipal House.
The electoral college for the election of mayor comprises the 250 elected councillors, seven Lok Sabha and three Rajya Sabha MPs from Delhi and 14 MLAs.
The Delhi Assembly Speaker has nominated 13 AAP and one BJP member to the House.
The total number of votes in the mayoral polls are 274. The numbers game favours the AAP, which has 150 votes against the BJP's 113.
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