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Chandigarh: BJP wins re-poll for 2 mayoral posts

Kuljeet, Rajinder elected Sr Deputy Mayor, Deputy Mayor I One vote invalid

Chandigarh: BJP wins re-poll for 2 mayoral posts

Jatinder Pal Malhotra, Chandigarh BJP chief, flanked by Senior Deputy Mayor Kuljeet Singh Sandhu (left) and Deputy Mayor Rajinder Sharma (right) at the MC office on Monday. NITIN MITTAL



Tribune News Service

Sandeep Rana

Chandigarh, March 4

Recent defection of three AAP councillors to the BJP and the SAD’s lone councillor voting in its favour saw Kuljeet Singh Sandhu and Rajinder Sharma of the saffron party winning the posts of Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor defeating alliance nominees from the Congress Gurpreet Singh Gabi and Nirmala Devi, respectively, in the MC re-elections today.

Sandhu secured 19 votes against Gabi’s 16, while one vote was declared invalid. The vote was declared invalid as the ballot paper had two voting stamps. According to sources, one of his party councillors, who recently fell out with him, chose to make his vote invalid. However, the party denied it.

For Deputy Mayor’s post, Rajinder Sharma emerged the winner with 19 votes against alliance candidate Nirmala Devi who polled 17 votes. The results were announced by newly appointed Mayor Kuldeep Kumar Dhalor, who was the presiding authority for the polls.

Caption

On both occasions, the lone SAD councillor, Hardeep Singh, who had voted for the BJP in the previous Mayor’s poll, confirmed he did the same today as well.

The BJP has a total of 18 votes — 17 councillors and one of ex-officio member, i.e. MP Kirron Kher. The BJP’s numbers increased from 15 to 18 after three AAP councillors switched over to the saffron party on February 19. AAP has 10 councillors and the Congress seven.

The polling for the two posts started at 10 am. The voting passed off peacefully.

BJP councillor Saurabh Joshi objected to PCS officer SS Sodhi, who is a joint commissioner in the MC, for being involved in the counting of votes. He said since HCS officer Shambhu Rathee, also a joint commissioner, is the MC secretary, he should be counting the votes. On this, Rathee said it was the Mayor’s prerogative.

After winning the polls, councillors of AAP and the BJP took a swipe at one another. BJP councillor Maheshinder Singh Sidhu said, “I thank the Mayor, who belongs to the INDI alliance, under whom the BJP candidates have won.” Replying to him, Mayor Kuldeep Kumar Dhalor said, “We organised fair elections. I hope you (BJP) could have also got it done in the Mayor’s poll.”

The elections to the two posts were earlier scheduled to be held on February 27, but a day before the polls, Dhalor (from AAP) had stated that he could not be present in the House meeting as presiding officer because he was out of station to see his ailing sister. Subsequently, the court had stayed the polls and ordered that the elections be held on March 4.

Dhalor was declared the winner of the Mayor’s poll by the Supreme Court that found eight votes were wrongly declared invalid by presiding officer Anil Masih.

Meanwhile, Masih today attended the MC House first time after the controversy.

Lone SAD councillor votes for BJP this time too

  • BJP’s Kuljeet Singh Sandhu secured 19 votes against 16 polled by alliance candidate Gurpreet Singh Gabi. One vote was declared invalid as the ballot paper had two stamps. According to sources, one of his party councillors, who recently fell out with him, chose to make his vote invalid. However, the party denied it.
  • For Deputy Mayor’s post, Rajinder Sharma emerged the winner with 19 votes against alliance candidate Nirmala Devi who polled 17 votes. Lone SAD councillor voted for the BJP this time too.

AAP leader has heated argument with cops

AAP’s co-in charge SS Ahluwalia had heated arguments with the city police when they tried to stop him from entering the MC building after the results were declared. He alleged the police pushed him. Other leaders, including city BJP president Jatinder Pal Malhotra, vice-president Devinder Singh Babla, former president Arun Sood, city Congress president HS Lucky and youth wing president Manoj Lubana, too, had difficulties entering the well-guarded gate after the results were announced.

Kher evades media query on LS poll

While speaking to the media on Monday, MP Kirron Kher abruptly left the place when she was asked whether she was going to contest LS elections again.

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