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Delhi Mayor Polls Fail to Take Place for Third Time in Wake of AAP Protest

© AP Photo / Manish SwarupAn Indian para-military force soldier stands guard amidst morning smog at the Raisina hills, the government seat of power, in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023.
An Indian para-military force soldier stands guard amidst morning smog at the Raisina hills, the government seat of power, in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 06.02.2023
The election of a mayor and a deputy mayor has been stalled thrice since the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) emerged victorious in the Delhi civic polls in December 2022.
The election to pick a new Delhi Mayor was suspended for the third time on Monday after the union territory's governing AAP protested against a change of rule by Lieutenant Governor (LG) V.K. Saxena.

The AAP's protests came after 10 councilors, nominated by the LG as "aldermen," were permitted to vote in the elections.

According to Delhi Municipal Corporation laws, nominated members are not allowed to vote in the polls. But the MCD's presiding officer Satya Sharma reportedly maintains that it's a historical error and needs to be corrected since they are also nominated members.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led party won the elections to the 250-member MCD in December's civic polls, bagging 134 seats to the BJP's 104. But the triumphant party is still apprehensive about its victory in the mayoral polls, because a councilor can vote for anyone, as the parties cannot issue whips to their candidates.
People walk along a road near India Gate amid smoggy conditions in New Delhi on October 25, 2022. - Sputnik India, 1920, 24.01.2023
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This is why it is strongly opposed to the voting rights provided to the councilors nominated by the LG, who acts as the representative of the federal government in Delhi. He has had frequent run-ins with the Kejriwal-led government in the national capital.
The AAP has alleged that the nominated members are people associated with the BJP and that they are expected to support the federally governing party.
"We want the election and we want Delhi to have a mayor," AAP's Atishi Marlena said, alleging that the BJP once again deliberately stalled the process on Monday.
However, the AAP's charge was emphatically dismissed by BJP politician and federal minister Meenakshi Lekhi, who said: "Presiding officer has decided that aldermen (nominated members) can vote. AAP is trying to rig the polls."
In Delhi, a mayor is chosen through voting in which all 250 municipal councilors, Delhi's seven Lok Sabha (lower house) and three Rajya Sabha (upper house) parliamentarians, and one-fifth of the members of the state Assembly (14) nominated by the speaker cast their votes.
Besides the 134 councilors that the AAP has, all three Rajya Sabha MPs from Delhi are from the party, plus it would also have the support of 14 lawmakers nominated by the assembly speaker, because he is also from the AAP.
Despite all these favorable equations, the AAP appears to be worried about the outcome, especially after the Congress, which has 10 councilors, said it would not vote in the mayoral polls.
This led to criticism of Congress by AAP councilors, who accused the former of having struck a "deal" with the BJP.