January 6, 2022 5:50:38 am
After the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) fearing poaching, it was the turn of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to pack off its newly-elected councillors to the Circuit House in Shimla on Wednesday, to prevent what the party claimed, were blatant attemots by the Opposition to poach its lawmakers.
The Congress had on Monday moved its councillors to Jaipur, while the AAP had decided to take its lawmakers to Delhi on the same day to prevent possible horse-trading.
On Wednesday, Chandigarh BJP chief, Arun Sood, confirmed that the councillors of the Bharatiya Janata Party had been moved to Shimla, while alleging that the AAP was trying all tricks to buy the lawmakers. Sood alleged that the AAP has been openly stating that they had already bought three BJP councillors at Rs 2 crore each, forcing his party to act.’
“They are trying all underhanded means. We have heard that they have been telling their councillors that they already have poached three BJP lawmakers by their side, while using the word ‘bought’,” Sood said.
He, however, added, “The BJP councillors have gone to Shimla just for a change in scenery.”
Congress councillors in Jaipur, AAP’s in Delhi
Earlier, the Congress had moved its councillors to Jaipur on Monday, fearing horse-trading, while the AAP had done the same with its councillors and taken them to Delhi, for “training”. Congress chief, Subhash Chawla, had then said that their councillors were being approached by both the AAP and the BJP, and hence had to shifted.
The Congress, sources said, might also abstain from voting during the Mayoral elections that is scheduled to be held on January 8. The Congress, which had won eight seats originally, saw one of its councillors, Harpreet Kaur babla, later shifting to the BJP with her husband, outgoing councillor Devinder Singh Babla. Reduced to seven councillors, the votes of the Congress will be the deciding factor in choosing Chandigarh’s Mayor.
Sources said that the Congress was in a bind at the moment. If the Congress councillors voted for AAP’s Mayoral candidate, then people of Punjab, which goes to poll this year, might see them as being in cahoots with the Arvind Kejriwal-led party. The dilemma will await them if they voted for the BJP’s candidate. Therefore, sources said that the party might abstain from voting altogether on January 8, despite its councillors returning to Chandigarh a night before the all important poll.
The Aam Aadmi Party has fielded Anju Katyal as its Mayoral candidate, while BJP has fielded Sarabjit Kaur as their nominee.
Both the AAP and the BJP have 14 votes each at the moment. In case of a deadlock, the votes of the Congress councillors or that of the sole SAD councillor, Hardeep Singh, might decide the fate of the Mayor. Hardeep on Wednesday stated that he has a meeting with the party high command on January 6 and will decide who to vote for as directed. In case Hardeep also abstains from voting, there will be a tie, which will then be decided by a toss.
BJP chief wants AAP councillors Covid tested
BJP Chief Arun Sood on Wednesday said that all AAP councillors should be tested for Covid as they were seen closely standing with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the victory march held few days back. The Delhi CM has since tested positive for Covid.
“Ideally, as per protocol, whosoever the Delhi CM came in contact with in the last seven days should be tested for Covid. They will be coming in the Municipal Corporation House, touching the ballot papers. As per protocol, they all should be tested,” he said.
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