New Delhi, April 26
The Aam Aadmi Party’s Shelly Oberoi got another term as Mayor of Delhi following her reelection on Wednesday without contest as her BJP rival Shikha Rai withdrew her nomination.
Rai told the House that she took the step because the election to the standing committee—the apex decision-making body of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD)—has not been conducted.
Incumbent Deputy Mayor Aaley Mohammad Iqbal also got another term at the post, as BJP candidate Soni Pal withdrew her nomination. Iqbal and Pal were the two rival candidates for the post of Deputy Mayor.
The AAP claimed that BJP candidates Rai and Pal withdrew their nominations “minutes before voting, fearing defeat”.
The mayoral election in Delhi was supposed to be a direct contest between incumbent Oberoi and Rai. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is the ruling party in the MCD.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, “Congratulations Shelly and Aley on again becoming mayor and deputy mayor, this time unopposed. Best wishes to both. People have huge expectations from us. Work hard to meet their expectations.”
As soon as Oberoi became Mayor, a few members of the House raised ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and ‘Kejriwal Zindabad’ slogans.
At a press conference after the House proceedings ended, AAP MLA and the party’s in-charge of MCD Durgesh Pathak claimed that the BJP and its councillors “surrendered in front of Kejriwal’s AAP”.
“For the first time, Modi’s BJP surrendered in front of AAP. They did not even have the energy to fight Mayor or Deputy Mayor election,” he claimed, adding that the BJP had “insulted” Mukesh Goyal two months ago, who today was the presiding officer in the House.
The Delhi BJP, in a statement, said it decided to withdraw the nominations as “despite our best efforts, the AAP is not ready to make MCD functional by allowing the formation of standing committee and ward committees”.
Interacting with the media, Mayor Oberoi said, “We want to thank Arvind Kejriwal, all councillors and the people of Delhi. We will fulfil the promises made to the people of Delhi. I promise I would continue to do all the good works and we will work with honesty to address the issues related to parks, roads and schools”.
Deputy Mayor Iqbal and Leader of House Mukesh Goyal also were present during the press conference held at the Civic Centre—the headquarters of the MCD.
“I want to thank the Delhi chief and assure the people of Delhi that fulfilling the 10 guarantees made by him is our responsibility,” Iqbal said.
Senior AAP leader Goyal claimed it was the “BJP’s compulsion” to withdraw nominations for the post of Mayor and Deputy Mayor in the elections. “We are here to solve the issue of people. It is the responsibility of the BJP councillors to work for the betterment of people,” he said.
The municipal House proceedings were short and the next House will now take place on May 2, a senior official said.
Oberoi was elected Delhi Mayor for the first time on February 22 in the fourth attempt since the earlier elections were stalled amid a ruckus over voting rights being given to nominated members. She had defeated BJP’s Rekha Gupta by a margin of 34 votes by polling 150 votes. Gupta got 116 of the total 266 votes polled.
The post of Mayor in the National Capital sees five single-year terms on a rotational basis with the first year reserved for women, the second for the open category, the third for the reserved category and the remaining two again for the open category.
The City gets a new Mayor after the end of a financial year.
The proceedings began around 11 am, with senior AAP leader Mukesh Goyal as the pro tem presiding officer.
The recent terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch was condemned by the House and condolences were also offered to the kin of a civic staff who had died in a road accident recently. A two-minute silence was also observed.
The Mayor poll proceedings soon got under way, but before that BJP’s Rai made a short speech in the House.
“I’m standing here as a worker of the biggest party in this country. Our party has always believed in the democratic process, which is why they nominated me for the election to the mayoral post. However, my party never wanted any position. But in the last few days, we’ve seen that the MCD’s standing committee is not being formed without which the MCD remains incomplete,” she told the House.
Uncertainty still prevails over the conduct of the election of members of the Standing Committee.
On February 25, the Delhi High Court stayed the re-election of six members of the Standing Committee of the MCD which was scheduled for February 27, saying the Mayor prima facie acted beyond her powers in ordering a fresh poll.
The court on April 24 permitted the city Mayor to file a “consolidated reply” to a challenge to the re-election of six members of the MCD Standing Committee.
Rai on Wednesday said, “We are asking for the mayoral election to take place in sync with the Standing Committee election. So, in view of the situation, I’m withdrawing my name from the mayoral poll”. She is a councillor from the Greater Kailash-1 ward in south Delhi.
“I request Shelly Oberoi that when she takes the Mayor seat, she understands that MCD is incomplete without the Standing Committee,” the BJP councillor said. PTI