AS BJP preferred Davesh Moudgil, who is known for his proximity to MP Kirron Kher and former MP Satya Pal Jain, for the post of mayor, the camp, belonging to Chandigarh BJP chief Sanjay Tandon, appears to be losing its grip on the city unit of the national party. With Moudgil, who never took part in Tandon’s events, getting the ticket, it is clear that Kher has an edge over the Chandigarh BJP chief’s preference now. This decision may also help the party high command make the choice in Chandigarh during the Lok Sabha election in 2019.
Sources said attempts were being made to stop Moudgil from being the contender. Tandon’s camp, which was backing Councillor Arun Sood, said if not Sood, Councillor Shakti Devshali may be fielded. Two months ago, differences within the party also came to the fore when Moudgil did not invite Mayor Asha Jaswal to an inaugural event in his ward. Since then, 13 councillors had signed a representation against Moudgil citing his indiscipline towards the party and that was submitted to the party high command in Delhi. But, these representations did not work and Moudgil remained the first choice of the BJP.
Moudgil has all along been quite vocal in the House about the favours given by certain councillors to Lions Services Limited, the company managing the sanitation in southern sectors which has not gone down well with the Tandon’s camp as well. Moudgil had even caught some representatives of Lions Services dumping garbage in the forest area following which an inquiry was ordered.
Despite being upset with the decision, a divided BJP put up a united front. When Moudgil went to file his nomination on Wednesday, BJP chief Sanjay Tandon accompanied Moudgil along with other party leaders to the MC office. Sources said back-to-back meetings were being held with councillors owing allegiance to Tandon’s camp on Wednesday evening in order to pacify them.
“We are expecting Jaswal to withdraw her nomination,” said a senior leader on condition of anonymity. Devinder Singh Babla, the mayoral candidate of the Congress, said infighting within the BJP has come to the fore and this was clear to the people of Chandigarh.