Ruckus in Patiala MC during voting for no-confidence motion; Capt Amarinder hits out at Punjab govt

Considered his first show of power since he resigned, he will lead his team of Congressmen from Patiala to vote against the Congress government backed no-confidence motion against the mayor

Aman Sood
Tribune News Service
Patiala, November 25

There was ruckus inside the Patiala Municipal Corporation House during the voting on the no-confience motion against the Congress government’s "diktat" of removing incumbent Patiala Mayor Sanjeev Sharma Bittu, here on Thursday evening.

Former Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh along with Mayor Sanjeev Bittu arrives at Municipal Corporation, in Patiala. PTI

Capt Amarinder Singh targeting the Congress government in the state said it was utterly shameful that it was using the state machinery to intimidate the elected councillors of Patiala.

“Utterly shameful that the @INCPunjab govt. which is on it's last leg, is using the state machinery to intimidate the elected councillors of Patiala. Despite all the high handedness they couldn't pass the vote of no confidence against the Mayor as they were well short of numbers,” he tweeted.

Highlights:

* The mobile phone of Mayor Sanjeev Sharma Bittu, who was posting videos of the activities inside the meeting hall on his Facebook page, was snatched.

* Bittu has reportedly refused to resign as government has failed to gather numbers to remove him from the post. Both factions claim victory.

* Brahm Mohindra says that the mayor lost the confidence of the house due to 25 votes while he should have bagged over 30.

* “Mayor stands suspended and till then senior deputy mayor will hold the mayor office,” he said.

* The police are also said to have taken away two councillors within the MC premises leading to protest by Mayor Sanjeev Sharma.

* One of the councillors who allegedly returned from USA last week was in the house instead of self-quarantine.

* While initially 23 councillors accompanied Capt Amarinder Singh inside the corporation, the police have not allowed relatives or anyone who is not part of the process today to enter the building.

* Sources close to Mayor Sanjeev Bittu said their three councillors were dragged and faced police action to ensure pressure on them so that they do not cast their vote.

* While the police have refuted claims of any councillor being rounded up, Mayor Bittu alleged that the police is ensuring that the government takes over the corporation using force.

Former Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh will lead his close team of Congress councillors who have sided with him against the Congress government’s diktat of removing incumbent Patiala Mayor Sanjeev Sharma Bittu.

A former Congressman, Amarinder, has floated his own party and has announced to fight the polls from his home constituency of Patiala.  

Considered his first show of power since he resigned, he will lead his team of Congressmen from Patiala to vote against the Congress government backed no-confidence motion against the mayor. The developments come a day after Patiala MP Preneet Kaur, who is Amarinder’s wife, was issued a showcause notice by the Punjab Congress for “anti-party activities”.   

Political observers say this is the first face-off since Amarinder left the party following which the cadre in the royal bastion is divided. With Amarinder announcing to contest from Patiala, these developments hold significance. 

Meanwhile, the government has assigned two senior ministers to ensure that the process of no-confidence against the Amarinder-backed mayor goes on smoothly. In addition, Local Bodies Minister Brahm Mohindra is also in the city to oppose the Amarinder camp. 

Sources say senior police officers are camping in the corporation since morning to ensure no untoward incident takes place. Home Minister Sukhjinder Randhawa is looking into the no-confidence process whereas Amarinder has warned against any possible action against his close team. 

A few ‘rebel’ councillors of over 40 wards, backed by top Congress leaders, submitted a no-confidence motion against the mayor and demanded that a meeting of the general House be called.

Last week, ‘rebel’ councillors held a meeting with Congress general secretary Harish Chaudhary and minister Brahm Mohindra in Chandigarh. A parallel meeting was held at MP Preneet Kaur’s New Moti Bagh Palace residence, where 18 councillors were present. Bittu, who wants to contest from Patiala (rural), a constituency represented by Mohindra, has accepted the challenge to prove his majority.

Sources say the councillors supporting Amarinder have been shifted to the Siswan farmhouse in New Chandigarh and will reach Patiala in the evening. “This was done to ensure that none of them is rounded up or picked by police on some pretext,” they said.

Tribune Shorts


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