The State Election Commission (SEC) declared late Friday that the offices of all Returning Officers will remain closed on April 1, Saturday, for receiving nominations for elections to the three municipal corporations. The two big parties in the fray — the Congress and the BJP — who are yet to announce candidates for the polls, will have only one day to file nominations for all 272 wards. “The deadline for filing nominations is 3 pm on Monday. The rule is that our offices will remain closed on public holidays. Therefore on Saturday and Sunday, no nominations will be received,” State Election Commissioner S K Srivastava told The Indian Express.
The SEC started accepting nominations on March 27. The Congress, which had earlier said it will release its first list “as soon as elections are notified”, is yet to announce candidates. Its first list, with approximately 150 names, is expected to be released Saturday. The party is in the process of finalising the list. Delhi unit chief Ajay Maken said, “The BJP has sent the EC on an abrupt holiday amidst nomination process, because it wants to restrict nominations of sitting councillors… Even the official notification for the MCD polls had no mention of the two-day leave,” he said, adding that “had the EC not gone on a vacation, its candidates would have filed nominations over the weekend”.
The AAP has already announced all its 272 candidates and those who have not filed nominations will do so on Monday, AAP Delhi in-charge Ashish Talwar said. The BJP, on the other hand, appeared unfazed. “Our team of experts and advocates are ready to help the candidates file nominations… We don’t think filing nominations would see any difficulty,” Harish Khurana, spokesperson, Delhi BJP, said.