By: Vivek Gupta
The tug of war over a date for the mayor’s election ended on Monday, with Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Shayin, who is also the presiding officer, fixing it for January 5, despite local MP Kirron Kher lobbying for a date in the third week of December.
Since 2006, the election of the mayor, senior deputy mayor and the deputy mayor has been held on January 1 every year.
This time, however, Kher wrote to the Chandigarh Administration in November to advance the election so that councillors and the corporation staff could enjoy winter holidays.
The issue divided the BJP and the Congress, with Mayor Harphool Kalyan, who belongs to the Congress, insisting that the election should be held ‘on time’. He argued that the election could not be held before the completion of his one-year tenure on December 31.
The Deputy Commissioner said that the decision to hold the election on January 5 had been taken after consultation with different stakeholders.
The Congress interpreted the DC’s decision as its victory, while Kher said, “One should not read much in the decision.”
She said her only concern was that the councillors and MC staff should spend quality time with their family on New Year and Christmas. “Postponement of the election date will serve the purpose and also give more time to the party for canvassing,” she said However, BJP state president Sanjay Tandon said, “We would have been happier if the poll date was advanced, but we are confident of victory and we will win all the three posts.”
Although three Congress councillors, namely Raj Bala Malik, Sat Parkash Aggarwal and Rana Kashmiri Devi, have switched over to the BJP since August, the party does not have enough support to win the election.
The BJP has the support of 15 councillors, including one SAD councillor and Kirron Kher who is ex-officio member. The house has
35 members, with one vacancy. Nine members belong to the Congress, nine are nominated, and two belong of the BSP.
For a simple majority, the BJP will have to win over at least three members. Tondon said that the party was in touch with nominated councillors.