New Delhi: The second municipal House after the recent high-stakes civic polls in the national capital is slated to take place on Tuesday during which the mayor and deputy mayor of Delhi are to be elected. The mayor and deputy mayor are to be elected in the very first House that convenes after a municipal poll, which could not happen on January 6 as the House was adjourned following a ruckus between the AAP and BJP members. The civic polls were held on December 4 and the counting of votes took place on December 7.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had emerged as a clear winner in the polls, bagging 134 wards and ending the BJP’s 15-year rule in the civic body. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 104 wards to finish second, while the Congress won nine seats in the 250-member municipal House which will convene on January 24 for the second time after the 2022 civic polls.
The nominees for the post of mayor are — Shelly Oberoi and Ashu Thakur (AAP), and Rekha Gupta (BJP). Oberoi is AAP’s main contender. The nominees for the post of deputy mayor are — Aaley Mohammad Iqbal and Jalaj Kumar (AAP), and Kamal Bagri (BJP). Besides mayor and deputy mayor, six members of the MCD’s standing committee are also slated to be elected during the January 24 municipal House.
The maiden meeting of the newly elected MCD House was adjourned without electing the mayor and the deputy mayor amid loud protests by AAP councillors over the presiding officer’s decision to administer oath to the 10 aldermen first. The next date will be announced later, BJP councillor Satya Sharma, the presiding officer overseeing the process had said on January 6.
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) had come into being in April 1958 and its mayor wielded influential power and carried a huge prestige till 2012 when the corporation was spilt into three separate civic bodies, each having its own mayor. But in 2022, the Centre brought legislation to unify the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (104 wards), South Delhi Municipal Corporation (104 wards) and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (64 wards) into a single entity though it had capped the total number of wards at 250, down from 272 wards earlier.
Thus, after the mayoral poll, Delhi will get a mayor for the city as a whole after a gap of 10 years. This was also the first municipal elections after the redrawing of the wards in the year gone by, the exercise being necessitated after the Centre brought legislation in Parliament to unify the three local bodies. The Parliament on April 5 had passed the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill-2022 to unify three civic bodies in the national capital into a new unified entity, which capped the number of total wards to 250.
It received the assent of the president on April 18. The unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi came into effect from May 22, with Gyanesh Bharti and Ashwani Kumar taking charge as its municipal commissioner and special officer, respectively. The post of special officer will cease to exist in the MCD after the new 250-member House comes into being.
The post of mayor in Delhi sees five single-year terms on a rotation basis, with the first year being reserved for women, the second for open category, third for reserved category, and the remaining two also being in the open category. The MCD headquarters is housed in the towering Civic Centre. In 1958, it had began its journey from the historic 1860s-era Town Hall in old Delhi and was shifted to the swanky complex in April 2010.
Former mayor of North Delhi Jai Prakash said, “time is running out, and both AAP and BJP should sit together to ensure the oath-taking of councillors and nominated members and election of mayor and deputy mayor takes smoothly”. “The election of mayor should have happened in the first House itself, but it was unfortunate that it could not take place due to the chaos last time. I am hopeful, the process will happen smoothly tomorrow,” he told PTI
Prakash, a senior BJP leader, also said it was a matter of great fortune for people of Delhi that it will now again have one mayor for the whole city. “Aruna Asaf Ali was the first mayor of Delhi, and Rajni Abbi was the last mayor till MCD was trifurcated in 2012. And, after ten years, again a woman mayor will be at the helm, it is matter of great fortune for both the city as well the person who will become the mayor of Delhi,” he said.