The Municipal Corporation of Delhi mayor will be from the Aam Aadmi Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party will play the role of a "strong opposition", its Delhi unit chief Adesh Gupta said on Friday, ending speculation over the saffron party staking a claim on the mayor's post despite losing the civic polls.
Gupta added that the BJP councillors would resist if the AAP indulged in corruption at the MCD and work for the city's people as Opposition.
Several BJP leaders had earlier hinted that the party might go for the mayor's post despite losing the civic polls.
"Now over to electing a mayor for Delhi. It will all depend on who can hold the numbers in a close contest, which way the nominated councillors vote etc. Chandigarh has a BJP mayor, for instance," the BJP's IT department chief Amit Malviya had tweeted the day the results were being declared.
Hints dropped by other party leaders, including Manjinder Singh Sirsa and Tajinder Pal Bagga, also gave rise to speculation that the BJP might go for the mayor's post.
It was further buttressed by the example of Chandigarh where the AAP had earlier this year emerged as the single-largest party by winning 14 of the 35 wards in the municipal polls but the BJP secured the mayor's post.
Gupta, however, put all the speculation to rest.
"The AAP has got the peoples' mandate, so they can have their mayor. We extend them good wishes," Gupta told PTI when asked if the BJP would contest the mayoral poll.
The MCD mayor is elected by all 250 councillors in the House, seven Lok Sabha and three Rajya Sabha MPs from the city, and 14 MLAs nominated by the speaker of the Delhi assembly.
The AAP on Wednesday wrested power from the BJP in the high-stakes civic polls. The Arvind Kejriwal-led party bagged 134 of the 250 wards while the BJP won 104.
Gupta thanked the people of Delhi and party activists and leaders after it bagged 104 wards despite anti-incumbency. The BJP had ruled the MCD -- trifurcated in 2012 into north, south and east corporations and unified this year -- for 15 years.
"We will play the role of a strong opposition in the MCD to save Delhi from the AAP, which has become synonymous with corruption," Gupta said during a press conference.
He said the party lost around 30-35 wards with a narrow margin and accused the Congress of playing a "friendly match" with the AAP.
"The Congress completely surrendered before the AAP and played a friendly match. They fielded such candidates so as to help the AAP," Gupta alleged.
The Congress won nine wards in the elections.
Gupta said the BJP secured around 40 per cent of the votes, losing by just over 2 percentage points.
"In 2017, the BJP got 36.08 per cent of the votes in the municipal corporation elections; this time we got 39.09 per cent. This shows that there is an increase in the number of votes by 3 per cent," he said.
The Congress got 21 per cent of the votes in 2017 elections that slid to just over 11 per cent this time, Gupta pointed.