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Delhi Mayor Polls: AAP Protests, Clash With BJP After Lt Governor’s Move

Chaos broke out at a meeting to elect a Delhi Mayor today as newly elected councilors of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the BJP physically clashed and pushed each other, shouting slogans targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal.

AAP and BJP workers were seen jostling, lashing out and even falling to the ground during the meeting of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), Delhi’s second biggest decision-making body, at the Civic Centre.

The protests erupted over Satya Sharma, the temporary Speaker appointed by Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena, swearing in the nominated members or aldermen of the house ahead of the Mayor’s election.

As Mr Sharma invited alderman Manoj Kumar to take oath, AAP MLAs and councilors rushed to the centre of the house shouting slogans.

AAP members said elected councilors should have been sworn in before the nominated members. AAP had earlier objected to the Lieutenant Governor naming the 10 nominated members without consulting its government in Delhi.

The clash follows a series of confrontations between AAP and the Lieutenant Governor, who is the Centre’s representative in Delhi and reports to the Union Home Minister.

AAP accused the Lieutenant Governor of trying to skew the Mayor polls to help the BJP, which lost the December civic election after three terms in power.

AAP chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has, in a letter shared on Twitter yesterday, accused the Lieutenant Governor of intentionally picking 10 nominated members aligned to the BJP.

After naming the nominated members, Mr Saxena went on to appoint a BJP councilor, Satya Sharma, as temporary Speaker to preside over today’s election. AAP had recommended Mukesh Goyal, the senior most councilor, for the post.

“It is the tradition that the senior most member of House is nominated as protem Speaker or presiding officer. But BJP is hell bent destroying all democratic traditions and Institutions,” tweeted AAP MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj.

The BJP has claimed that it will win the Mayor’s post and that AAP has no faith in its own councilors.

“Everything is being done according to the Constitution. They are making excuses because they know they are morally defeated,” said BJP leader Manoj Tiwari.

Arvind Kejriwal’s party has named Shelly Oberoi as its candidate for Mayor. The BJP, in an eleventh-hour volte face after earlier announcing it would not fight for the post, put up Rekha Gupta. AAP’s back-up candidate is Ashu Thakur. The nominees for the post of deputy mayor are AAP’s Aaley Muhammad Iqbal and Jalaj Kumar and Kamal Bagri from the BJP.

The MCD House has 250 elected councilors. The BJP’s seven Lok Sabha MPs from Delhi and the AAP’s three Rajya Sabha members and 14 MLAs nominated by the Delhi Speaker will also participate in the Mayor election.

The Congress, which has nine councilors, has decided not to take part in the voting. AAP accused the party of making a deal with the BJP.

AAP won 134 of 250 wards in the first municipal election held after the redrawing of constituencies and the merging of the MCD last year. The BJP finished second with 104 seats.

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