The BJP on Wednesday survived a crucial vote to win the mayor's post in the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), thereby completing a hat-trick of victories in the newly formed corporations. Third-time councillor Savita Gupta, from Amar Colony, took charge as mayor of the SDMC after winning the election against Congress-backed NCP candidate Phool Kali by a margin of 20 votes.
Earlier, party councillors Annapurna Mishra and Meera Aggarwal had been elected mayors of east Delhi and north Delhi corporations.
Employing deft political manoeuvres, the BJP gained the support of Independents and five BSP councillors to win the election. It also got the nomination of the INLD’s mayoral candidate Seema Pandit and deputy mayoral candidate Krishan Pehelwan withdrawn by taking them into its fold.
Of the 112 votes, 66 was in favour of the BJP and 46 were in favour of the NCP, despite the Congress bringing in two MPs-Ajay Maken and Mahabal Mishra -- to cast their votes. The voting also had its share of drama when Congress Rajya Sabha member Pervez Hashmi was prevented from voting after the BJP raised objections, saying there was no proof to suggest that his name is on the electoral rolls. He was allowed to vote later.
Of 114 people who could have voted, two Congress MPs —Sandeep Dikshit and Ramesh Kumar — stayed away.
In the first meeting of the corporation, leader of the Opposition, the Congress's Farhad Suri, said the BJP should have given the mayor's position to someone from the minority communities. He also alleged that “horse trading” had taken place with voters being wooed with promises.
Criticising the tie-up between the BJP and the BSP, Suri said, "In 2007, BSP councillors were beaten up by their BJP counterparts. How can they patch up now?"