New Delhi: After its humiliating defeat in the assembly elections, BJP is gearing up for another tough fight. The three municipal corporations will elect new mayors and other office-bearers this month. On Thursday, it announced the names of its candidates for mayor’s post in all three corporations. While it is the ruling party in all three corporations, sources say it may be difficult for it to retain South Delhi Municipal Corporation thanks to a stiff challenge from Aam Aadmi Party.
Harsh Malhotra, councillor from Welcome Colony, has been nominated for the post of mayor of East Delhi. Subhash Arya, Rajouri Garden councillor and incumbent leader of house, will contest for the South Corporation mayor’s post and Ravinder Gupta, councillor from Karol Bagh, will run for North Corporation mayor. The elections will be held in South, North and East corporations on April 20, 24 and 27, respectively.
AAP MLAs will vote to elect mayor and deputy mayor for the first time. Five MPs, including one Congress MP, and five MLAs participate in the two elections. This time, four MPs are from BJP but all MLAs are from AAP. BJP claims to have the support of 47 plus councillors in the 97-member House.
Though there are 104 councillors in South Corporation, seven resigned after being elected in the 2013 and 2015 assembly polls. The Delhi government has appointed Badarpur MLA Narayan Dutt Sharma, RK Puram MLA Pramila Tokas, Vikaspuri MLA Mahinder Yadav, Matiala MLA Gulab Singh and Tuglaqabad MLA Sahi Ram, all from AAP, as MLAs who will vote in the South polls. Five MLAs each have also been nominated for North and East corporations.
Though BJP said it is comfortably placed in the corporations, Congress members believe it is going to be a neck-and-neck fight. Satish Upadhyay, who is councillor from Malviya Nagar, was recently elected to become South Corporation’s representative at DDA. “He won by just one vote. Last time, the BJP candidate for mayor, too, won by just one vote and the party lost the election of deputy mayor to Congress. It will be a close contest,” Farhad Suri, Congress councillor and leader of opposition, South Corporation, said.
Sources said Upadhyay’s election saw cross-voting. “In South Corporation, it has been a close contest for the past two years. Following BJP’s decimation in the state election, it’s important for the party to retain its hold on all three corporations. Most councillors were ignored during the Delhi elections. Anything can happen this time,” said a BJP councillor. But BJP doesn’t agree. “We will win the posts of mayor and deputy mayor,” Arya said.
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