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Delhi civic body set to elect new Mayor | Latest News Delhi

Delhi civic body set to elect new Mayor | Latest News Delhi

Even as the city gears up for polling in the Lok Sabha elections slated to be held on May 25, preparations for electing a new mayor of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi have begun, senior municipal officials have said.

Shelly Oberoi was elected mayor on February 22, 2023. (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)

The term of the incumbent mayor, Shelly Oberoi, ended on March 31, the officials said and added that notification for fresh polls would be issued soon.

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Oberoi had won previous two elections held on February 22 and April 26, which were marred by controversies and led to legal battles with the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. However, she will not be eligible to contest this time since under the Delhi Municipal Act, the post is reserved for a councillor from the Scheduled Caste community in the third term. Oberoi will continue in her position till a new mayor is elected, the officials said.

A senior MCD official explained that Section 35 of the DMC Act mandates that the corporation will at its first meeting each year, usually April 1, elect one of its members to be the chairperson who will be known as the mayor and another member as the deputy mayor.

Elections process

A second official said that once a date is finalised for holding elections, at least seven days are provided for prospective candidates to file their nominations. The mayor’s office will decide on the date for holding the first meeting. Since Lok Sabha elections have been announced, the civic body will also have to seek the election commission’s approval.

Once the date is finalised, the municipal secretariat will get approval from the mayor’s office, the urban development department of the Delhi government, and then from the lieutenant governor who will nominate a person to preside over the election process, the second official said.

In the last two elections, there was a tussle over the role of presiding officer with the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) challenging the presiding officers’ orders on who will be allowed to vote first and whether the aldermen are allowed to vote or not. The Supreme Court later decided the mater in AAP’s favour.

The AAP had also challenged the nomination of the aldermen by the LG. However, the Supreme Court is yet to decide the case.

Electoral college

The electoral college for the mayor comprises of the 250 councillors; seven Lok Sabha and three Rajya Sabha MPs from Delhi; 14 MLAs to be nominated by the speaker of Delhi legislative assembly and 10 aldermen which do not do not have voting powers in the house proceedings.

Cross voting is permitted in these elections as anti-defection laws do not apply.

In February 2023 election, AAP candidate Shelly Oberoi had received 150 votes against BJP’s Rekha Gupta who received 116 votes. After Oberoi has two-month tenure, the elections were held afresh in April 2023, in which Oberoi was elected unopposed. BJP candidate Shika Roy withdrew her nomination at the last moment.

Anil Gupta, the former chief law officer of the MCD said that the seven MPs from BJP will be able to participate in the election as they technically remain the members till the Lok Sabha is dissolved. Gupta said that it still remains unclear if the arrest of the chief minister will have a bearing on finalisation of the election schedule as the file also moves thorough the CM’s office to the LG secretariat.

During the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the final date of polling was May 19 and counting took place on May 23. The Union cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave its approval to the resolution advising the President to dissolve the Sixteenth Lok Sabha on May 24.

“The convention has been that the file goes through urban development department and the CM. According to Section 77 of the DMC Act states the administrator (the LG, in this case) will nominate a councillor who is not a candidate to preside over the meeting called for holding elections to the post of mayor,” Gupta said.

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