BJP bags South Delhi Mayor post

BJP`s three-time Councillor Savita Gupta was on Wednesday elected as the first Mayor of South Delhi Municipal Corporation.

New Delhi: In a keenly contested poll, BJP`s three-time Councillor Savita Gupta was on Wednesday elected as the first Mayor of South Delhi Municipal Corporation after enlisting the support of a number of independents and possibly that of five BSP Councillors.

Gupta, the Councillor from Amar Colony who polled 66 votes, trumped NCP`s Phoolkali by a margin of 20 votes while BSP`s Bir Singh, Councillor from Madanpur Khadar, was elected unopposed to the post of Deputy Mayor.

The election was keenly watched as none of the parties had majority of their own in the 104-member House. BJP has 44 members while Congress has 29, NCP 6, BSP 5, INLD 3, SP 1, RLD 1, JD(U) 1 and independents 14.

BJP worked till the last to ensure that its ally INLD`s candidates withdrew from the race for the two top posts besides enlisting the "support" of BSP by allowing its candidate to win the Deputy Mayorship unanimously.

INLD`s Mayor candidate Seema Pandit and Deputy Mayor candidate Krishan Pehelwan withdrew from the race after BJP state leadership managed to woo them to their fold.

Sources said BJP also managed to enlist BSP`s support after making Pehelwan withdraw from the race to enable Singh`s election. BJP is learnt to have got the support of five BSP members, three INLD councillors, one JD(U), 11 independents and two BJP MLAs who have votes in the municipal body.

When contacted, the newly-elected Deputy Mayor refused to talk about whom the BSP supported.

Out of 114 people who have vote in the house, two Congress MPs -- Sandeep Dikshit and Ramesh Kumar -- did not vote. Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken was among the MPs and MLAs who cast their votes.

Six Councillors -- four from BJP and two Congress -- were also elected unanimously to the Standing Committee. A Congress member, two INLD councillors and a BSP councillor who had filed nominations withdrew from the race.

Rajesh Gehlot is the BJP nominee for Chairman of Standing Committee while Subhash Arya will be the Leader of the House.

Congress has nominated veteran Councillor Farhad Suri as the Leader of Opposition.

The voting also had its share of drama when Congress` Rajya Sabha MP Pervez Hashmi was not allowed to vote initially after BJP raised objections and wanted proof that his name is on the electoral rolls.

Earlier during the elections on April 15, he could not vote as his name was not in the rolls. He was later allowed to vote.

The polling was held after the newly-elected Councillors took oath.

A Congress councillor Ravi Kalsi created a flutter by adding one line to his oath "I won`t do what Bangaru Laxman did". He was asked to take oath again to conform to the norms.

Laxman was recently sentenced to four years imprisonment for allegedly accepting Rs 1 lakh bribe for a fictitious arms deal.