Chaotic scenes were witnessed at the Delhi Civic Center late this evening during the election for the six members of the Standing Committee, understood to be the most powerful body in the unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi. In an unprecedented situation, the election rolled on close to midnight. Visuals from the spot showed councilors screaming, jostling and punching, as others doused them with bottled water.
The new Delhi Mayor Shelly Oberoi alleged that she was attacked by BJP councilors while conducting the election. The BJP claimed that they were only trying to discuss the matter with the Mayor. Visuals from the spot showed BJP councilors climbing the stage and surrounding the mayor amid the uproar.
“BJP Councilors just tried to attack me while I was conducting the Standing Committee elections, as per Supreme Court orders! This is the extent of BJP’s Gundagardi that they are trying to attack a woman Mayor,” tweeted the Mayor, who was elected earlier today .
BJP Councilors just tried to attack me while I was conducting the Standing Committee elections, as per Supreme Court orders! This is the extent of BJP’s Gundagardi that they are trying to attack a woman Mayor.
Dr. Shelly Oberoi (@OberoiShelly) February 22, 2023
“We had gone to talk to the mayor that he should listen to us and discuss with us so that a solution can be found in this matter,” said the BJP’s Shikha Rai.
“This is absolutely shocking and unacceptable!” tweeted Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. AAP’s Atishi said they will complain to the police.
Sources said the trouble started as an altercation between the Aam Aadmi Party and the BJP over allegations that some members were carrying cellphones during the voting.
The BJP members claimed that the voting should be stopped and a fresh mandate taken. But with the lateness of the hour and the insistence of Ms Oberoi that the election for the Standing Committee has to be finished today, tempers flared.
Carrying of pens and cellphones was not permitted during the election for the posts of mayor and deputy mayor and the BJP alleged that it was allowed in case of the Standing Committee poll to breach secrecy and stop AAP members from voting as they please.
“Which secret voting is conducted while carrying cellphones? You know you are going to lose and you are doing this to send photos of the voting to your high command. This is reducing democracy to a joke. We demand that you cancel the 50 votes already.” cast,” said Delhi BJP spokesperson Harish Khurana at a hurriedly convened press conference.
The election for the Standing Committee started late this evening, hours after the election for the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor. Both posts went to AAP, which has 150 votes in the 274-member house — way above the majority mark of 138.
In the Standing Committee, AAP is likely to win three of the six seats and the BJP two. The fight is over the sixth seat, which could help the BJP call the shots in the civic body they controlled for the last 15 years.
The two-month tussle over the nomination of the aldermen — councillors named by the Lieutenant Governor — and whether they can vote in the mayoral elections, were geared toward this day, sources have indicated.
Oath-taking by the 10 nominated aldermen and the question of their voting had stalled the mayor election thrice since the civic polls in December. The election was postponed for the fourth time to accommodate the Supreme Court hearing on the issue. The court had ruled out voting for aldermen, saying the constitutional provision is “very clear”.