The BJP-SAD alliance made a clean sweep of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation elections, winning 21 of 26 seats as the results were announced Tuesday. The Congress party managed to win only four seats, and the remaining one was bagged by an Independent.
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As many as 20 of the 22 candidates that the BJP fielded won, while SAD took one seat of the four candidates it fielded. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and CPI (ML) did not get any seats.
Where BJP city chief Sanjay Tandon attributed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation drive and the party’s “proper planning” as the reason for the victory, Congress alleged that they lost because BJP “tampered with the EVMs”.
This was the Congress party’s first defeat in the civic body elections since 1996. Many Congress heavyweights, including former Mayors and councillors Subhash Chawla, Poonam Sharma, Kamlesh, H S Lucky and other office-bearers of the party who contested were defeated in the polls. Congress President Pardeep Chhabra’s wife Ritu Chhabra also lost from ward 3 which was a Congress dominated ward for the past 15 years. Even Inderjit Kang, wife of Chandigarh SAD unit’s Chief Jagjit Singh Kang lost. The total voter turnout during this polls was 59.54 per cent.
The trend was visible almost as soon as the counting began, with BJP candidates leading on most of the seats from the first round itself.
BJP candidate Anil Dubey won with the highest margin: By 9,421 votes against Congress Nasrulla Khan. While Dubey got 12,115 votes, Khan got only 2,694 votes.
At ward 15, Congress candidate Ravinder Kaur won with the lowest margin of 71 votes against Shiromani Akali Dal candidate Balwinder Kaur. Ravinder got 3,985 votes while Balwinder got 3,914 votes.
Many fresh faces that the BJP fielded won with a sizeable margin by defeating old-time councillors.
First-timer Bharat Kumar from ward 23 was the one who got the highest votes that is 14, 097 against former Congress Mayor and heavyweight Kamlesh who got just 7,123 votes.
From ward 1 that comprises elite sectors from 1 to 11, BJP’s Mahesh Inder Singh Sidhu defeated former councillor Congress candidate H S Lucky by a margin of 324 votes.
Another newcomer, Sunita Dhawan (BJP) defeated a heavyweight— former Congress Mayor Poonam Sharma by a margin of 365 votes in ward 4.
Next in line was Ravi Kant Sharma, BJP candidate, won by defeating Congress Chief Pardeep Chhabra’s wife Ritu Chhabra in ward 3 which had been the Congress ward for the last fifteen years. Sharma won by a margin of 417 votes.
The youngest BJP candidate, 26-year-old Kanwarjit Rana, won by a margin of 4,297 votes against Congress contender Karanvir Singh.
Among the sitting councillors who would be part of the Municipal Corporation house again for another five years, there are going to be nine of them including seven of BJP, one of SAD and one of the Congress.
Seven of the eight serving councillors which BJP fielded won. Among those were Mayor Arun Sood who won by a margin of 2,077 votes by defeating Congress spokesperson Rajesh Sharma, BJP councillors Asha Jaiswal, Heera Negi, Rajesh Gupta, Davesh Moudgil, Satish Kainth and Raj Bala Malik. Saurabh Joshi who was considered one of the BJP heavy weights lost to Congress candidate Devender Singh Babla in ward 18 by a margin of 807 votes.
All sitting councillors of Congress who were fielded lost except Gurbax Rawat who won by a margin of 2,128 votes in ward 9 and Sheela Devi who won by a margin of 1,861 votes from ward 5.
In the second hour of the counting, when the news of BJP winning in majority of the seats was circulated through WhatsApp and calls , supporters gathered outside counting centers and BJP headquarters in Sector 33 with dhols.