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The municipal corporation meeting was called off until further notice amid huge protests by the BJP and AAP after 10 councillors nominated by Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena were allowed to vote. The Delhi Municipal Corporation Act says nominated members, or aldermen, cannot vote in house meetings.
AAP says it will approach the Supreme Court for court-monitored mayoral polls within 10 days. Though AAP has a majority in the corporation after its big win in the December civic polls, a secret ballot and cross-voting could change the outcome. "We want the election and we want Delhi to have a mayor," said AAP's Atishi, accusing the BJP of deliberately stalling the process with their protests.
AAP has strongly opposed voting rights for the aldermen nominated by the Lieutenant Governor, who is the Centre's representative in Delhi. Arvind Kejriwal's party alleges that these members are inclined to support the BJP.
Emphatically denying the charge, BJP leader and Union Minister Meenakshi Lekhi said: "Presiding officer has decided that aldermen can vote. AAP is trying to rig the polls."
The BJP's seven Lok Sabha MPs from Delhi, AAP's three Rajya Sabha members and 14 MLAs nominated by the Delhi Speaker are also allowed to vote. The Congress has said it will abstain, sparking allegations of "deal-making with the BJP" from AAP councillors.
AAP won 134 of 250 wards in the first municipal election held after the merging of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and redrawing of constituencies last year. The BJP finished second with 104 seats. Till now, the house does not have a Mayor, Deputy Mayor or Standing Committee.
AAP had earlier objected to the Lieutenant Governor naming the 10 aldermen without consulting the state government. It had also opposed the appointment of Satya Sharma by the Lieutenant Governor as presiding officer, recommending Mukesh Goyal, the seniormost councilor in the house, for the post.
Oath-taking by the nominated aldermen had stalled two previous meetings to elect a Mayor. In the first election on January 6, AAP and BJP members physically clashed, pushing and punching each other, throwing tables and chairs and jumping on desks.
The row reached the Supreme Court, where AAP sought time-bound election of the Mayor and orders that the aldermen not be allowed to vote.
AAP's Mayor candidate Dr Shelley Oberoi -- up against the BJP's Rekha Gupta --withdrew the petition after the court pointed out that the election was due on February 6 and a detailed hearing will stall it again.
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