Delhi Mayor Shelly Oberoi has opposed the challenge of BJP councillors to the re-election of six members of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) standing committee. The decision to hold a re-poll was taken in the interest of free and fair polls, according to the Mayor. Senior lawyer Rahul Mehra, who is representing the Mayor and is also the returning officer, argued that fresh “re-polls” were ordered due to the commotion in the House, and that the present petitions should not be entertained by the court at this stage when the election process is yet to be concluded.
“Returning officer (RO) said everything stands compromised. There is complete commotion. Election must be free and fair and they must also be seen to be free and fair and hence I am directing a re-poll,” argued Mehra before Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav of the Delhi High Court.
The challenge by BJP councillors to the re-election of the standing committee members comes amid political turmoil in the city. The MCD, which is responsible for providing civic services to the city, is controlled by the BJP. However, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is in power in Delhi, has accused the BJP of corruption and mismanagement.
The re-election of the standing committee members was ordered by the returning officer after allegations of irregularities in the initial election. The re-poll was conducted on April 29, 2023, and the results were declared on May 2, 2023. However, the BJP councillors have challenged the re-election, alleging that the returning officer acted arbitrarily and without authority.
The Delhi High Court has reserved its judgment on the matter. The court has directed the Delhi government to file a reply to the BJP councillors’ petitions and has fixed the next hearing on May 12, 2023.
The legal dispute over the re-election of the standing committee members is likely to intensify political tensions in the city. The AAP has accused the BJP of trying to manipulate the MCD to serve its political interests, while the BJP has accused the AAP of using the MCD as a tool to target its political rivals.
The MCD, which is one of the largest municipal bodies in the world, has been plagued by corruption and mismanagement for years. The AAP, which came to power in Delhi in 2015, has been trying to overhaul the MCD and improve its functioning. However, its efforts have been hampered by political opposition from the BJP, which controls the MCD.
The legal battle over the re-election of the standing committee members is likely to have significant implications for the functioning of the MCD and the politics of Delhi. It remains to be seen how the Delhi High Court will rule on the matter and whether the political parties will accept its verdict.