The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) is still without a mayor and deputy mayor after a second attempt to hold elections to the posts fell through Tuesday with the House being adjourned.
The swearing-in of the councillors and the L-G-nominated aldermen – a process that led to a scuffle on January 6, the last time the House convened for the swearing-in and mayoral polls – went without much of a hitch on Tuesday. Proceedings were held with tight security.
While four aldermen had already taken the oath on January 6, the remaining six were sworn in on Tuesday amid chants of “shame, shame” from the AAP councillors. The AAP had earlier opposed the swearing-in of the aldermen before the elected members were sworn in.
All 250 councillors took their oath on Tuesday, albeit with some sloganeering during the process. While one of the AAP councillors took Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s name at the end of his oath, two BJP councillors mentioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi either at the start or end of their oath, and each case prompted brief protests from the opposite side.
After the oath-taking, when the House reconvened for the mayoral polls after a short break, Mukesh Goel, AAP leader of the House in MCD, asked the presiding officer, BJP councillor Satya Sharma, to ensure that only those who were eligible to vote remained inside the House at the time of voting. On January 6, AAP leaders raised concerns about “attempts” to get nominated members to vote in the house.
The presiding officer briefly adjourned the House after Goel’s request. Soon after her return, a scuffle broke out between AAP and BJP councillors. While BJP councillors said that the AAP councillors had insulted and shoved them, AAP leaders have claimed that their councillors attempted to remain calm despite being sworn at and insulted.
With some of the councillors climbing onto the table, Sharma said the proceedings cannot be conducted in this situation and adjourned the House till further notice. While BJP councillors walked out and protested AAP’s alleged “hooliganism”, AAP councillors remained seated marking their protest against the adjournment without electing the mayor.
Rekha Gupta, the BJP’s candidate for mayor, alleged that AAP councillors had pushed and shoved some of the BJP’s women councillors, and referred to it as the AAP’s “hooliganism”.
“AAP councillors were insulting us, and then, a scuffle broke out. They did not want to allow for a situation in which the election could happen,” Gupta said.
AAP councillors, MLAs and MPs who were in the House to vote in the mayor polls remained in the House till 8 pm. A roll call was done by AAP MLA Durgesh Pathak in an attempt to demonstrate that all 151 of the party’s members who were required to vote in polls were present.
Deputy Chief Minister, Manish Sisodia, in a press conference, said that AAP councillors had “attended the house peacefully”. “It is clear that BJP is running away from elections. People have defeated BJP and they know that AAP’s mayor will work in Delhi and BJP’s inaction of 15 years will be exposed. BJP with its actions is strangling democracy and the constitution,” Sisodia said.
BJP, meanwhile, accused AAP of “obstructing elections”.
Delhi BJP general secretary Harsh Malhotra asked Kejriwal why AAP was “obstructing elections despite having a majority in the House”.
“As soon as the talk of the mayor election started, they immediately started creating a ruckus. Due to this misbehaviour, people of Delhi have not got their mayor for a month today, and work of corporation has stopped,” he alleged.
“They created a ruckus and AAP corporators misbehaved with BJP’s women councillors, including Rekha Gupta. BJP councillor Sandeep Kapoor was assaulted when he tried to stop them,” he alleged.