The AAP says the presiding officer appointed by Delhi's Lt Governor VK Saxena, a representative of the BJP-led government at the Centre, is trying to help the party in the polls.
The high-stakes battle for Delhi’s main municipal body, now hinging on the election of a mayor, was stalled for the second time in weeks after a fresh clash between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the BJP on Tuesday.
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) House was adjourned indefinitely once again amid the face-off as councillors assembled to elect the mayor and a deputy mayor of Delhi, more than a month after the AAP won the civic body polls.
Like the first meeting of the 250-member MCD House on January 6, the election was called off amid loud protests by AAP councillors, who alleged the BJP was trying to wrest control of the civic body despite losing the elections.
On Tuesday, presiding officer Satya Sharma of the BJP, appointed by the Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena, administered the oath to 10 nominated councillors first, despite the fierce opposition by the AAP in the last meeting. The AAP has said these councillors, known as aldermen, are not allowed to vote.
Heavy security, including a larger number of civil defence personnel, and marshals, were posted at the Civic Centre, the headquarters of the MCD.
The AAP has nominated Shelly Oberoi for the role and also named another candidate Ashu Thakur as “backup”. The BJP has nominated Rekha Gupta. The nominees for the post of deputy mayor are Aaley Mohammad Iqbal and Jalaj Kumar (AAP) and Kamal Bagri (BJP).
After losing the polls, the BJP had first hinted it would fight the AAP for the post of mayor. The party then went back on the statement, saying the mayor will be from the AAP. The party then did yet another about-turn, saying it will contest the poll after all.
The civic polls were held on December 4 and the counting of votes took place on December 7. The AAP emerged as the clear winner in the polls, scoring 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.
The post of mayor in the national capital sees five single-year terms on a rotation basis, with the first year being reserved for women, the second for the open category, the third for the reserved category, and the remaining two again for the open category. Delhi will thus get a woman mayor this year.
This will be the first time in 10 years that the city will have one mayor, following the merger of three divisions of the municipal body last year.
The voters for the election of the mayor are 250 councillors, seven Lok Sabha and three Rajya Sabha MPs from Delhi and 14 MLAs nominated by the Legislative Assembly. The Delhi Assembly Speaker has nominated one BJP MLA and 13 AAP MLAs to the MCD.