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Posted at: Jan 4, 2018, 2:25 AM; last updated: Jan 4, 2018, 2:25 AM (IST)

Mayoral poll — BJP a house divided

Outgoing mayor Jaswal, her supporters file nominations against official party nominees

Sandeep Rana

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3

Municipal Corporation (MC) mayoral poll divided the ruling BJP as outgoing Mayor Asha Kumari Jaswal walked out of the UT Guest House with 13 fellow councillors and the city party president Sanjay Tandon to contest the polls as a rebel against official party nominee today.

Only six councillors stayed back after party in-charge Prabhat Jha told them that Davesh Moudgil would be the party’s choice. Against the party’s official stand, Asha Kumari Jaswal, Ravi Kant Sharma and Vinod Aggarwal filed nominations for the posts of mayor, senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor, respectively.

Later, Tandon, who claimed he earlier went to see his unwell wife and did not boycott the meeting, rejoined the meeting with Jha and party secretary Dinesh Kumar. Thereafter, the party declared the names of Moudgil, Gurpreet Singh Dhillon and Vinod Aggarwal as candidates for the posts of mayor, senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor, respectively.

But, the party in-charge had egg on his face when Aggarwal did not turn up for the nominations at the MC secretary’s office. Amid a crowd of workers and the media, Tandon and Jha had to enter the washroom to persuade Aggarwal on the phone to appear for nominations.    

After the two party nominees filed their papers, Aggarwal finally turned up at the office. As the official nominees and other leaders made their way out of the office, councillors, led by Arun Sood and Jaswal, came there to file nominations. Aggarwal again filed his nomination from the rebel faction, claiming that he was with them.      Earlier, only Jaswal had filed her papers.


Who stands where

Davesh Moudgil is in the Kirron Kher camp and is also a close aide of former MP Satya Pal Jain. While another contender, councillor Arun Sood, is in the Sanjay Tandon group. Jaswal, too, is in the Tandon faction.

What all happened

Source said 14 councillors proposed different names for the post of mayor. However, when party in-charge Prabhat Jha announced Moudgil’s name, they said leave aside both Sood and Moudgil and make Rajesh Kumar Gupta the nominee for the post. However, the party was in Moudgil’s favour, which forced 14 councillors to leave the meeting. Other six councillors were in the party nominee’s favour. However, by evening, some councillors started falling in line due to party pressure.

Issue of voting rights to nominated councillors   

The issue of annulment of voting rights of nominated councillors is listed for January 5 in the Supreme Court. It would also be a major factor in the mayoral poll even if the court’s decision is announced in either side’s favour. These nominated members are divided too. Earlier, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had annulled their voting rights after which the UT Administration as well as nominated councillors moved the apex court.    

Multiple sets of papers filed

The Jaswal group filed five sets of papers with 10 councillors as proposers and seconders. Three sets were filed by the Moudgil faction.       

Those who stayed back at BJP meet

Heera Negi, Anil Kumar Dube, Kanwarjeet Singh Rana, Farmila and Chanderwati Shukla

Speaking out

The written stand of 14 councillors against Moudgil was not heard. The BJP city president’s view was also not considered by those involved in the selection process. We wanted a mayor who thinks of the party’s interests, not one who is in favour of Selvel (company involved in scam). — Asha Kumari Jaswal, outgoing Mayor

I have always been in party discipline. The party is supreme and it is the party’s decision. — Davesh Moudgil, BJP nominee

This is the party’s decision. I do not comment on individuals or on what the party decides. — Kirron Kher, MP

I feel unfortunate for whatever happened on Wednesday. Asha Kumari Jaswal and others are cultured and disciplined party workers. It was their off-the-cuff decision and I hope good sense will prevail. Secondly, I had gone out of the meeting around lunch time to see my wife who was unwell. — Sanjay Tandon, Chandigarh BJP president

I held meetings and they will withdraw their names before January 9. The allegations are made out of anger. I do not consider them. The party is supreme and it is not my personal decision. — Prabhat Jha, party in-charge

Poll schedule

Scrutiny of nominations January 4 

Withdrawal of candidature Till January 9

Mayoral poll January 9 from 11 am onwards

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