Phagwara, January 23
Though the term of Phagwara Municipal Corporation was over in March 2020, no elected MC could be elected even after three years of the expiry of its term with the result that bureaucrats are now calling the shots in the absence of elected representatives. The ruling AAP is divided into two factions headed by defeated MLAs.
The old group is led by Santosh Kumar Gogi, who lost the assembly elections in 2017 while the other is led by former minister Joginder Singh Maan, who was denied a Congress ticket in 2022 and joined the AAP and contested assembly elections from Phagwara, but lost.
Deep factionalism in AAP has become a hindrance in holding MC elections which is already behind schedule.
It has been learnt that work on the delimitation of wards could not be completed yet, but a proposal has been sent to the Local Bodies Department and MC officials were scheduled to be in Chandigarh on January 19 for discussions. It has also been learnt that factionalism of AAP has been a major factor in delaying the exercise. Speculations are rife that politicians could knock the doors of the court against the delimitation of wards.
The Punjab Government appointed District Planning Board Chairperson Lalita Saklani and AAP leader Nirmal Singh as members of the wards delimitation committee, but the suggestions of the appointed members are reportedly being ignored by the officials.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a member of the committee said that officials of the municipal corporation are creating wards at their own will and they are not being provided even with maps of the new wards. Nirmal Singh said some officers were bent on reversing the work. Congress MLA Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal, on the other hand, alleged that the bureaucracy was deliberately doing this. He said if delimitation of wards was done wrongly, his party may knock the doors of the High Court and appealed for impartiality.
It is likely that MC elections could be held in the next three months if the issues get sorted out.
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