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Shelly Oberoi becomes mayor of Delhi, BJP’s Shikha Rai withdraws nomination

NEW DELHI: Aam Aadmi Party’s Shelly Oberoi was on Wednesday re-elected Delhi mayor without contest after her rival Shikha Rai withdrew her nomination, with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) claiming that the BJP city unit brought ”humiliation” to the entire party by surrendering in the poll.

AAP MLA and the party’s in-charge of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), Durgesh Pathak, claimed that the BJP and its councillors ”surrendered in front of (Arvind) Kejriwal’s AAP” and gave a ”walkover” to the party.

The Delhi BJP, however, said it had decided to withdraw the nominations as ”despite our best efforts, the AAP is not ready to make MCD functional by allowing the formation of the standing committee and the ward committees”.

Incumbent Deputy Mayor Aaley Mohammad Iqbal also got another term at the post as BJP candidate Soni Pal withdrew her nomination.

The AAP, the ruling party in the MCD, 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 Oberoi and Rai, but the withdrawal of nomination by the BJP candidate resulted in the House proceedings ending after a short duration.

The proceedings began around 11 am with senior AAP leader Mukesh Goyal as the pro tem presiding officer.

Soon after, Rai told the House that she took the step of withdrawing her nomination because the election to the standing committee — the apex decision-making body of the MCD — has not been conducted.

As soon as Oberoi became the mayor, a few members of the House raised ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and ‘Kejriwal Zindabad’ slogans.

AAP national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal tweeted, ”Congratulations Shelly and Aaley 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.” At a press conference held at the Civic Centre — the headquarters of the MCD — after the House proceedings ended, Pathak claimed that the BJP and its councillors ”surrendered in front of Kejriwal’s AAP”.

”For the first time, (Narendra) Modi’s BJP surrendered in front of the AAP. They did not even have the energy to fight mayor or deputy mayor elections,” he claimed, adding that the BJP had ”insulted” Goyal two months ago, who today was the presiding officer in the House.

He claimed that the BJP knew it ”didn’t have the numbers” and alleged that there was a possibility that many councillors of the BJP, ”who believe in democracy and are against hooliganism, could vote in favour of the AAP”.

”The BJP completely surrendered to save its honour. This is the victory of AAP’s CM Arvind Kejriwal and its every worker,” Pathak said.

Later, Delhi Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj addressed a press conference at the AAP’s headquarters, in the presence of Oberoi and Iqbal.

”The BJP’s Delhi unit has brought humilation to the national party! Before the election they used to say that the mayor will be from the BJP. But, before the poll, they ran away. Was it that out of 104 councillors of the BJP, many were going to vote in favour of the AAP. Something is wrong in the BJP unit,” he alleged.

Pathak, during the press conference at the Civic Centre, also alleged that the BJP had ”sought help” of the Delhi Police, including some of its senior officers, to ”lure AAP councillors” out of the party.

While there was no immediate reaction from the Delhi Police, Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor shot back and said Pathak is one of the most ”irresponsible leader”, and all through the last four years, ”we have seen him speak just to please his political masters”.

Pathak knows that on a day when Kejriwal is in ”a political tight spot”, then only an ”irresponsible statement that the BJP is misusing police machinery to buy AAP councillors, will please Kejriwal”, he alleged, in a reference to claims made by his party that about Rs 45 crore was spent on the ”beautification” of the CM’s official residence. The Delhi BJP spokesperson asked Pathak to stop making ”weird allegations” and challenged him to ”show evidence” even in one case in which any AAP councillor has been pressured by any police officer or offered money to switch sides.

Interacting with the media at the Civic Centre, 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 work and we will work with honesty to address the issues related to parks, roads and schools”.

Deputy Mayor Iqbal and Leader of House Goyal also were present during the press conference held at the Civic Centre.

”I want to thank the Delhi chief minister and assure the people of Delhi that fulfilling the 10 guarantees made by him is our responsibility,” Iqbal said.

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 next municipal House will now meet 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. 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.

As proceedings of the MCD House began, the recent terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch was condemned by members and condolences 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 underway, but before that BJP’s Rai made a short speech in 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.


Source: Press Trust of India

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