The Congress on Tuesday virtually handed victory on a platter to the BJP in the election of the Mayor of the South Municipal Corporation with two of its MPs — Sandeep Dikshit and Parvez Hashmi — not casting their ballots.
BJP’s Khushi Ram was elected Mayor of South Corporation by one vote defeating Congress’s Dharamveer Singh. Of the five MPs who form part of the council, Ajay Maken, Ramesh Kumar and Mahabal Mishra were in the House to cast their votes. However, East Delhi MP Sandeep Dikshit arrived just as voting closed, while Rajya Sabha MP Parvez Hashmi did not turn up at all.
The Congress received 51 and the BJP 52 of the total votes polled. The votes of the two MPs could have given the party a much-needed victory as the Congress was looking forward to “busting the Modi bubble”.
Leader of the Opposition Farhad Suri requested the outgoing Mayor and Presiding Officer Sarita Choudhary for an extra five minutes so that Dikshit could vote as he was on his way. His request was denied with Choudhary stating that the House could not wait for anyone since all those present in the House had cast their votes. Dikshit arrived just as the announcement for closing of the process was made. He was, however, able to vote for the post of deputy mayor. The Congress’s Praveen Rana became deputy mayor by a margin of 13 votes, providing the Congress its only victory in the three municipal corporations.
“We are disappointed as we missed the seat by a whisker. I have notified the AICC and the Pradesh Congress regarding today’s events and the high command has taken a serious note of the situation,” Suri said. Dikshit later told mediapersons that he arrived late as his wife was in the hospital.
The Congress put up a fight for the Mayor’s position with 29 seats against BJP’s 44. Allegations of cross-voting by the BJP were made after the Congress candidate secured 51 votes for the mayor’s position and 59 for the deputy mayor. Leader of the House Subhash Arya said since the post of mayor was reserved for SC candidate, “it is possible that caste-based cross-voting has taken place”.
In the East Corporation, the BJP’s Meenakshi was elected Mayor securing 34 of the 60 votes polled. Jai Gopal Verma of the BJP was declared deputy mayor after both parties decided to adopt the results of the mayor’s election for the deputy’s position. B B Tyagi and Ram Narayan Dubey of the BJP and Savita Sharma of the Congress were elected unanimously as members of the Standing Committee in East corporation.
In the South, Congress’s Farhad Suri and the BJP’s Kuldeep Solanki and Radhey Shyam Sharma were elected unanimously to the Standing Committee.