New Delhi: In a photo-finish, BJP councillor Khushi Ram today defeated his Congress rival Dharamveer Singh by one vote to become South Delhi Mayor as MP Sandeep Dikshit failed to exercise his franchise, leaving his party red faced.
The nail-biting contest saw Ram garnering a total of 52 votes out of 104 votes polled, against Congress’ 51. Dikshit, Congress’ East Delhi MP could not vote as he reached after the polling was over.
Congress’ Rajya Sabha MP Parvez Hashmi did not turn up to vote. Sources in DPCC said, both Dikshit and Hashmi are likely to be issued show-cause notices for failing to cast their votes in favour of Congress candidate Singh.
The electorate for the mayoral polls are the elected members to the respective municipal Houses, nominated members from the MLAs in the Delhi Assembly and the area MPs.
“We would have won the mayoral contest if Dikshit and Hashmi had voted. The party is likely to serve them show-cause notices,” a senior Congress leader said.
Congress after an initial tied score of 51 each, ended up losing as one “misplaced” extra BJP vote was later found.
“It could have ended up as a tie if not for the extra BJP mayoral vote that some councillor by mistake had cast in the the Deputy Mayor’s ballot-box, which proved to be the decider for the BJP,” SDMC Public Relations Officer Mukesh Yadav said after the elections.
“If Dikshit had not have come late for the election proceedings, both would have polled 52 votes each,” Yadav said. Out of total 104 votes polled, one vote was rendered invalid, he said.
Among the five MPs, Ajay Maken, Ramesh Kumar and Mahabal Mishra voted, a senior civic official said.
Congress councillor and Leader of the Opposition in the House Farhad Suri ruing the “missed opportunity” said,”Yes, if we had gotten those two crucial votes, we would have won, but this keenly fought contest also sends a clear message in the BJP camp that, all is not well there.”
Reacting sharply, Leader of the House in the SDMC Subhash Arya took a dig at Congress and asked, “Those (Congress MPs) who couldn’t come for their own party, will they be able to run a government?”
Since, there is no operational state Delhi government, no MLAs have been nominated and only the MPs could vote. But, one MP can vote from two different overlapping regions, ie if his MP area includes both North and South Delhi, he can vote in both NDMC and SDMC, officials said.
But Congress later claimed victory by winning the Deputy Mayor seat.
“Praveen Rana of Congress defeated rival Bir Singh of BSP by a margin of 13 votes (Cong-59, BSP-46),” Yadav said.