Forty-nine newly elected councillors of the Mohali Municipal Corporation took oath during a ceremony held at the MC Bhawan in Sector 68 on Monday. A two-minute silence was observed in the memory of Amteshwar Kaur, an independent candidate from ward number 29, who passed away recently.
Divisional Commissioner K Raju, who supervised the ceremony, urged all the councillors to rise above party lines and work for public welfare and development of their respective wards and the city.
The oath-taking ceremony was attended by MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu, District Planning Committee chairperson and SAD leader Amanjot Kaur, leader of ‘Azad group’ of councillors Kulwant Singh, and district BJP president Sukhwinder Singh Goldy, among others.
During the ceremony, some councillors raised the issue of poor condition of roads in the city but were asked by the officials not to raise issues as it was simply an oath-taking ceremony and not a meeting of the general house.
Recently, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had ruled against the reservation of the mayor’s seat for women, which was largely seen as a move by the ruling party to deal a blow to Kulwant, an expelled Akali leader who is one of the front-runners for the post.
Kulwant, who leads a group of 10 independent candidates, holds the key to forming a majority in the house as neither the Congress nor the SAD-BJP alliance are in majority at present.
There are 23 SAD-BJP councillors, 14 Congress councillors (excluding the MLA, an ex-officio member), and 12 independent councillors. Even the two independent candidates not aligned to the ‘Azad group’ — Manjit Sethi and Harvinder Lang — are not ready to join the SAD-BJP.
Following the court’s decision, efforts are on by both the Congress and the SAD-BJP to get the support of independent councillors. The Congress would need the support of all the independent councillors to form a 26-member-majority while the SAD-BJP needs at least three more councillors.
Meanwhile, MC Commissioner Uma Shanker Gupta said that the date for holding the mayoral elections had not been finalised yet. “A decision in this regard will be taken by the local bodies department,” he said.