NEW DELHI: The results of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections have been declared with the Aam Aadmi Party registering a victory.
Now the tug of war between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the AAP has intensified for the post of Mayor.
The BJP even after being defeated has claimed that the Mayor will be from them. At the same time, the AAP is also appearing confident about grabbing the post.
The thing to note here is that the party that wins in the polls is not a deciding factor for the Mayor's post. MCD rules state that the Mayor has to be elected by the councillors.
This rule, among others is the reason behind the saffron party staking its claim for the post confidently.
The party succeeded in making its councillor the Mayor of Chandigarh despite losing in the city's municipal corporation elections.
According to the Delhi Municipal Corporation (DMC) Act, it is mandatory to have a female Mayor in the first year of the term, as the post is reserved for women councillors.
Apart from this, the post has been reserved for a councillor from the Scheduled Caste in the third year while the post is unreserved for the remaining 3 years, allowing any councillor to contest in the elections.
Delhi had an integrated MCD in 2011, when the BJP's Rajni Abbi held the Mayor's post.
According to the DMC Act, at the first meeting of the House after the elections, is when the process of polls for the Mayor's post is initiated.
The process starts with nominations, proceeds to voting by the councillors and ends with the Mayor being elected.
The tenure of councillors in the capital is for 5 years, whereas the Mayor's term is for a year only due to which councillors elect a new Mayor every year.
The 250 winning councillors, 7 Lok Sabha MPs and 3 Rajya Sabha MPs will vote in the elections for the Mayor's post. Apart from this, 14 MLAs nominated by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly will also vote which is why it is mandatory to get 138 votes to win.
According to Section 53 of the DMC Act, the Mayor is elected in the first meeting of the financial year in April. This year, the polls which were to be held in March, were postponed after the Centre announced the corporations' integration.
According to the rules, the MCD Commissioner will now write to the LG through the Chief Secretary to call a meeting and to appoint a presiding officer for the Mayor's election. The LG will approve it after getting the go ahead from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
Under Section 514A of the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act, a special officer may be appointed by the Centre to look after the Mayor's responsibilities and functions until he is elected.
In May, 2022, the Central government appointed IAS officer Ashwani Kumar as the special officer for the integrated MCD.
The AAP, being a big party, is faced with the question of whether it would hold elections for the Mayor in view of only 3 months being left of the financial year, 2022-23.
If the party decides to do so, they would have to request the Centre to schedule the party's first meeting and the swearing-in ceremony, including the appointment of a mayor, in December this year instead of April, 2023.
The anti-defection law does not apply in the Mayor's polls, so if a councillor votes for the opposing party's candidate, they would not be removed from the post.
It would be difficult to know the identity of such a councillor which is the reason behind the AAP alleging that the BJP had been trying to buy their councillors after the declaration of results.