CHANDIGARH BJP affairs in-charge, MP, asked the two rebel candidates from the party to withdraw their nominations for the mayoral polls, contending that the party’s image was getting tarnished.
But, outgoing Mayor and Councillor Asha Jaswal refused to budge, saying that she would fight the election against the party’s official candidate — Davesh Moudgil — and said she was ready to face the consequences.
Moudgil, who is backed by MP Kirron Kher and former MP Satya Pal Jain, was declared the official candidate for mayor upsetting Chandigarh BJP chief Sanjay Tandon and his camp that have been pitching for Councillor Arun Sood.
Talking to The Indian Express, Jaswal said, “When we have been appealing for the last one month that anybody except Moudgil may be made the candidate, why wasn’t it heard? I will fight the elections against Moudgil and not withdraw. The most they will do is remove me from the party. He (Moudgil) does not belong to the city or the party. ”
Jha had warned the Tandon camp on Wednesday night that the party’s image was at stake and the incident had maligned BJP. The other rebel candidate is Ravi Kant Sharma, who also filed his nomination as an Independent against Gurpreet Dhillon, the official candidate for the post of Senior Deputy Mayor.
“I am sure they will withdraw the nomination before January 9. It is just a human reaction. It was since days that it was going on and all of a sudden when sentiments are hurt, one tends to take decisions in haste,” Jha told The Indian Express.
With factionalism within BJP wide open after Wednesday’s incident, Congress is also trying to make the most of it.
Sources said senior leaders of the party were trying to defeat the BJP’s official candidate. “Our party’s strength in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation is just four councillors. But, we are working on several strategies. Our aim is to defeat BJP’s official candidate and that can be achieved by cross-voting or giving support to the rebel candidate,” said a senior Congress leader. Congress Councillor Devinder Singh Babla is the party’s mayoral candidate.