Municipal House to elect Delhi mayor today, month after first session went in vain

New Delhi,:The municipal House in Delhi is set to convene on Monday to elect a mayor for the city after failing to carry out the exercise in two previous attempts. This will be the third session after the high-stakes municipal polls held on December 4.

The first two sessions — held on January 6 and January 24 — were adjourned by the presiding officer without electing a mayor as the sessions were marred by ruckus and acrimonious exchanges among the members of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Aam Aadmi Party.

According to the DMC Act 1957, the mayor and the deputy mayor are to elected in the very first House that convenes after the civic polls. However, it has been two months since the municipal elections were held, and Delhi is still to get a mayor.
While the first session of the 250-member House after the civic polls went fully in vain, in the second session, the nominated members followed by elected members took oath, many of whom had chanted slogans like ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and ‘Jai Shri Ram’ after taking oath.

The second municipal House, briefly adjourned after the oath-taking ceremony, was later adjourned till next date by the presiding officer and BJP councillor Satya Sharma.

While BJP members had walked out of the chamber shouting slogans against the AAP and its national convenor Arvind Kejriwal, the AAP members refused to budge from their seats, and held a peaceful protest in the House for nearly five hours.

Before dispersing from the Civic Centre, senior leaders of the AAP, including Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh, had told reporters after emerging from the House that by “not allowing” the mayoral election to take place, the BJP was “strangulating democracy” and “starting a dangerous tradition”.

AAP leader and party MLA Atishi had appealed to Lt Governor V K Saxena to ensure the election for mayor, deputy mayor and six members of the standing committee are held at the earliest.

The third session of the House after the high-stakes municipal polls is slated to be held on Monday.

The civic polls were held on December 4 and the counting of votes took place on December 7.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had emerged as a clear winner in the polls, bagging 134 wards and ending the BJP’s 15-year rule in the civic body. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 104 wards to finish second, while the Congress won nine seats in the 250-member municipal House which convenes on February 6 for the third time after the 2022 civic polls.

BJP’s mayoral candidate is Rekha Gupta.

The nominees for the post of deputy mayor are — Aaley Mohammad Iqbal (AAP) and Kamal Bagri (BJP).

Besides mayor and deputy mayor, six members of the MCD’s standing committee are also slated to be elected during the municipal House.

The maiden meeting of the newly-elected MCD House on January 6 was adjourned without electing the mayor and the deputy mayor amid loud protests by AAP councillors over the presiding officer’s decision to administer oath to the 10 aldermen first.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) had come into being in April 1958 and its mayor wielded influential power and carried a huge prestige till 2012 when the corporation was split into three separate civic bodies, each having its own mayor.

But, in 2022, the Centre brought a legislation to unify the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (104 wards), South Delhi Municipal Corporation (104 wards) and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (64 wards) into a single entity, though it had capped the total number of wards at 250, down from 272 wards earlier.

Thus, after the mayoral poll, Delhi will get a mayor for the city as a whole after more than a decade.

This was also the first municipal election after the redrawing of the wards in the year gone by, the exercise being necessitated after the Centre brought a legislation in Parliament to unify the three local bodies.

The Parliament on April 5 had passed the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill-2022 to unify three civic bodies in the national capital into a new unified entity.

The post of mayor in Delhi sees five single-year terms on a rotation basis, with the first year being reserved for women, the second for open category, third for reserved category, and the remaining two also being in the open category.

The MCD headquarters is housed in the towering Civic Centre. In 1958, it had began its journey from the historic 1860s-era Town Hall in old Delhi, and was shifted to the swanky complex in April 2010. PTI

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