The elections for the post of Delhi mayor will take place today. After three failed attempts, this is the fourth time since December these elections will occur. Delhi has been on tenterhooks as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have been fighting to get their respective candidates to sit on the top post.
However, this time, the chances of the AAP bagging the post is high, especially after the Supreme Court's recent decision to disallow nominated members to vote for the post.
Delhi mayor elections: The story so far
On December 4, municipal elections were held in Delhi to elect 250 councillors. This was the first election since 2012, when the civic body elections were held for a unified Delhi. Earlier, elections used to take place separately for South Delhi, North Delhi and East Delhi.
On December 7, the votes were counted, and the result was declared. After 15 years of being in power in the civil body here, the BJP lost the elections to the AAP. Arvind Kejriwal's party won 134 out of 250 seats. BJP won 104 and Congress 9.
The elections for the post of mayor were scheduled to take place on January 6. Shelly Oberoi is the AAP's contender for the position, while the BJP has nominated Rekha Gupta. The nominees for the post of deputy mayor are Aaley Mohammad Iqbal and Jalaj Kumar (AAP), and Kamal Bagri (BJP).
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Besides the mayor and deputy mayor, six members of the MCD's standing committee will also be elected in these elections. This standing committee holds considerable power in the civic body.
On January 6, the presiding officer of the Municipal House, Satya Sharma, also a BJP councillor, administered oath to 10 nominated members called aldermen first. They are not allowed to vote, and this may not have impacted the outcome of the elections, but the BJP would have been able to bag a critical chunk in the powerful standing committee.
The house was adjourned after protests from the AAP.
On January 24, the house met for the second time to elect Delhi's mayor. After the oath-taking exercise of 249 councillors, the house was adjourned for a 15-minute break.
When it reconvened, BJP and AAP members came face-to-face and started sloganeering. Sharma adjourned the house. BJP and AAP sat on "dharna", and the elections were stalled again.
On February 6, the house met for the third time. Sharma allowed the ten nominated members to vote for the post of mayor. This led to protests from AAP members. AAP members had earlier written to Sharma to bar the aldermen from voting. The house was again adjourned amid sloganeering.
AAP candidate Shelly Oberoi had approached the top court, questioning the BJP's contention that the aldermen can vote in the election. The SC bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said that the nominated members cannot vote in the elections.
This is the fourth time the elections are taking place. Whether Delhi will get its mayor today or not remains to be seen.