Delhi MCD mayoral poll postponed; House adjourned as AAP-BJP clash

Councillors of AAP and BJP clashed with each other over the appointment of 10 aldermen by Lt Governor VK Saxena


NH Political Bureau

Ahead of voting for the Delhi mayoral elections, clashes broke out between Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) councillors over who should take oath first.  A new date will be announced soon, according to MCD officials.

Delhi was set to get its next Mayor on Friday, more than a month after the ruling Aam Aadmi Party defeated BJP in the civic body elections. AAP has fielded Shelly Oberoi against BJP's Shalimar Bagh councillor Rekha Gupta for the top post.

The presiding officer and BJP councillor Satya Sharma began administering oaths to the 10 nominated aldermen before AAP's elected members. After Sharma invited alderman Manoj Sharma to take oath, AAP MLAs and councillors began to protest. Many rushed to the well of the House, shouting slogans.

The Leader of the House Mukesh Goel said it was for the first time in the history of 25 years of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) that the winning party was being sidelined and the runner-up BJP was being asked to take oath first.

The BJP councillors countered by raising slogans against AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal as AAP members raised slogans against PM Narendra Modi.

"Four aldermen who took oath have been nominated and have become the nominated councillors. The House has been adjourned until further notification," said Sharma.

"MCD commissioner Gyanesh Bharti and municipal secretary Bhagwan Singh have informed the L-G's office about today's incident and the happenings inside the House. The next date for resuming the House will now be decided by the L-G," Sharma added.

AAP councillor Praveen Kumar was beaten up by BJP members
AAP councillor Praveen Kumar was beaten up by BJP members
Vipin Kumar

The AAP has alleged that Saxena has appointed BJP leaders who were not experts in civic issues as aldermen and elected members should have been sworn in before the nominated members. After the clash the house was adjourned.

According to convention, the senior-most councillor — in this case, Adarsh Nagar councillor Mukesh Kumar Goel — should have been nominated the presiding officer of the meeting to elect the mayor.

However, party sources alleged, Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena decided on BJP’s Gautampuri ward councillor Satya Sharma and sent the file directly to the chief secretary for notification.

Seven BJP Lok Sabha MPs from BJP, AAP's three Rajya Sabha MPs and 14 MLAs nominated by the Delhi Assembly Speaker can vote in the elections to the posts of mayor and deputy mayor.

Six members of the standing committee will also be elected.

After reunification, the MCD House comprises 250 elected councillors. In recently concluded local body polls, AAP bagged 134 seats. BJP won 104 seats. The Congress, which has nine councillors, has decided abstain from voting.

Terming the development unfortunate, Delhi BJP working president Virendra Sachdeva said that why is the AAP scared if it has the majority. “Let the nominated councillors take oath, let the elections happen and everything will become clear,” he said.

The BJP chief also said that about 5-7 party councillors have been injured, while one has serious injuries who is being taken to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

“They have attacked our councillors with blades, pieces of glass and chairs. We will file an FIR against AAP leaders,” he added.

There was heavy police deployment at the Civic Centre building, which is the the MCD headquarters, where the meeting was underway.

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