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MCD secretary recommends fresh election, claims poll sanctity ‘badly bruised’

NEW DELHI: The MCD secretary has recommended fresh polls for electing members of the standing committee, claiming the sanctity of electoral process was “badly bruised” last night, amid a row over the mayor allowing councillors to carry mobile phones while casting votes.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) House was adjourned earlier in the day as the deadlock, with BJP councilors opposing their AAP counterparts carrying mobile phones while casting their votes.

AAP leaders have supported the mayor’s decision, while BJP members look “strong exception” to it, saying it “vitiated” the electoral process.

In a report filed to mayor Shelly Oberoi and commissioner Gyanesh Bharti, the MCD secretary has also said that enough ballot papers not available for electing six members of standing committee, and it was important that the election is conducted afresh.

“The sanctimony of the election process has been badly bruised,” the municipal secretary’s report sates, giving various reasons to support the claim.

He also pointed out that there were only 245 ballot papers, while at least 250 are needed to take the process forward.

“It may be noted that the election process has traditionally been held with a stock of 300 ballot papers as the possibility of few ballot paper getting damaged is there,” he reported, seeking time for printing of new set of ballot papers.

A total of 55 ballot papers were issued during voting for standing committee members on Wednesday. It was not clear how many councilors cast their votes in the ballot box, said the report.

It was stated in the report that due to protest of the BJP councilors and allegations that a few members who were casting vote inside the polling booth took snapshot of their votes, the House was adjourned and the ballot box was moved to safety. Some members who could not cast their votes by then pocketed it, it said.

Delhi BJP leaders and councilors have also demanded fresh voting for standing committee members. Party MP Parvesh Verma claimed that a total of 55 ballot papers were issued out of which 45 were used for voting while remaining 10 were untraceable.

The municipal secretary report said that no mobile phones or pens were allowed to be carried in the polling booth during the election of the mayor and deputy mayor for the sake of secretary.

“However, mobile phone was permitted by the Mayor during the election of six members of Standing Committee,” it said.

The BJP members look “strong exception” to the mayor’s decision saying it “vitiated” the electoral process and “compromised” the secrecy of ballot, said the report.

The AAP leaders have supported the mayor’s decision to allow mobile phones during casting of votes and opposed the BJP’s demand for fresh voting.

The BJP leaders have alleged that the AAP, fearing cross-voting by its councilors, allowed the use of mobile phones to take screenshots of their votes.

Verma has alleged that the AAP councilors who managed to vote in the election on Wednesday sent pictures to the party leadership including Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh.

Source: Press Trust of India

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