With the Bharatiya Janata Party and Aam Aadmi Party fighting it out as the counting of votes for MCD polls is underway, leaders from both parties are dreading a close finish. The reason? Anti-defection law does not apply in municipal polls.
This means that elected councillors can switch parties without the fear of disqualification, unlike in Assembly or Lok Sabha elections.
A legislator defects when she or he voluntarily gives up the membership of a party or disobeys the party whip when it comes to voting.
As per the anti-defection law, a party can merge into another if at least two-third of its legislators are willing to switch.
Since the law does not apply to municipal councillors, they can switch parties without the fear of being disqualified.
“If the results are close and both AAP and BJP are close to the halfway mark, the possibility of defection becomes very real. Members from smaller parties and independents also come into play and in such a situation, there is no certainty who will finally come out ahead. If, let’s say, AAP manages to cross the halfway mark but BJP is only a few councillors short, it is going to be an adverse situation for AAP because managing and monitoring a large number of candidates is tough,” said an AAP leader on condition of anonymity.
BJP leaders, too, said that the possibility of defection is high.
“Most candidates who contest municipal polls are just starting out and have the aspirations of a long political career. They are guided more by personal ambition than party allegiance. in a situation like this, switching parties after results are declared becomes a very real possibility,” a Delhi BJP leader said.
A total of 1,349 candidates contested for the 250 MCD seats this time. Majority would mean 126 seats. Apart from BJP, AAP and Congress, BSP, JD (U) and AIMIM contested several seats.