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Monday, January 17, 2022

Chandigarh: Sarabjit is new Mayor as BJP gets ahead of AAP by one vote

With 14 votes each in the House, both the AAP and BJP seemed set for a tie but the counting took a twist towards the end when one AAP vote was declared invalid as there was a tick mark on the other side of the ballot paper.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh |
Updated: January 9, 2022 12:39:50 pm
Chandigarh Mayor election, BJP wins Chandigarh Mayor election, Sarabjit Kaur, AAP Chandigarh Mayor election, Chandigarh news, Indian expressBJP candidate for the post of Chandigarh Mayor Sarabjit Kaur won the election by a margin of just one vote.

In an interesting twist, the BJP’s Mayoral candidate Sarabjit Kaur Saturday defeated the AAP’s Anju Katyal by one vote which was declared invalid at the Assembly hall. The AAP could not have its Mayor despite getting the highest seat share, that is 14, in the General House of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation.

With 14 votes each in the House, both the AAP and BJP seemed set for a tie but the counting took a twist towards the end when one AAP vote was declared invalid as there was a tick mark on the other side of the ballot paper. The ballot paper had a stamp on it but had a tick mark on the other side as well.

The AAP cried foul and alleged that the BJP made the officers tow their line by declaring a vote invalid.

The Congress with seven councillors abstained from the voting process, so did lone Akali Dal councillor Hardeep Singh. They all didn’t turn up for voting. Of the 36 votes then (including one of MP Kirron Kher), eight of them abstained from voting and 28 of them voted.

The election took place under the supervision of Deputy Commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh. The presiding officer was the BJP ‘s elected councillor Mahesh Inder Sidhu.

The election process started around 11.10 am when the AAP councillors got up and objected that MP Kirron Kher has no right to vote in the Mayoral polls. They stated that they have a copy of the Act in which it was nowhere mentioned that the MP could vote. The AAP’s Anju Katyal raised this point and her colleague Damanpreet supported it.

However, the presiding officer and other councillors said that they would give everyone the copy of the Act which showed that the MP is the ex-officio member of the House and can vote. The voting for the elections started at 11.20 am with MP Kher being the first one to vote.

The AAP councillors sat next to the newly elected Mayor and did not allow Deputy Commissioner Vinay Pratap to move, stalling the election process for the post of Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor. It was newly elected Mayor who had to get the elections done for both the posts.

High drama unfolded and Chandigarh Police had to be called in as AAP and BJP councillors literally manhandled each other.

After winning 14 of the 35 seats in the Municipal Corporation polls, the AAP was looking to get the Mayor’s post ahead of the Assembly election in Punjab. The BJP did its best to save its image after its poor performance in the civic body polls wherein the number of wards it held fell from 21 to 12.

As the AAP councillors protested, their leaders Raghav Chadha and Jarnail Singh reached outside the Assembly hall. Chadha told the police force that he wanted a reply from the Deputy Commissioner as to how a ballot paper of BJP that was torn was considered and not the one which was in favour of AAP.

Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor also of BJP

After the ruckus, election to the posts of Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor was held in the presence of heavy police force. The BJP’s Dalip Sharma and Anup Gupta clinched the posts.

For Senior Deputy Mayor’s post, the BJP’s Dalip Sharma was pitted against AAP’s Prem Lata. Fifteen votes were polled in favour of Sharma indicating cross-voting from AAP. Prem Lata polled 13 votes.

In the election to the post of Deputy Mayor, both BJP’s Anup Gupta and AAP’s Ram Chander Yadav got equal votes — 14 each — leading to a tie. As per the Act, then a draw of lots was held in which Commissioner Anindita Mitra took out a chit of BJP’s Gupta, and he was then declared the winner.

All the senior BJP leaders, including city BJP chief Arun Sood, former party chief Sanjay Tandon, newly inducted Devinder Singh Babla, were present in the visitors’ gallery. AAP leaders Pardeep Chhabra and others were not allowed entry inside because of which they earlier sat on protest outside the Assembly hall.

Mayor speech amid protests by AAP and police presence

Newly elected Mayor Sarabjit Kaur gave her speech and thanked her party leaders MP Kirron Kher, Sanjay Tandon and Arun Sood amid protests and the police trying to get the area vacated. In her speech, she said that she will do her best to get the city’s development works on fast track.

From a housewife to city Mayor

From a housewife to Mayor, Sarabjit’s journey has been really different. She is the wife of ex-BJP councillor Jagtar Jagga. The BJP chose her as she is a Jat Sikh candidate which would matter in the Punjab Assembly elections.

Sarabjit is a first-timer. She is one of the only two BJP women councillors who won this time. The BJP got third woman councillor after Harpreet Babla from the Congress joined them.

Sarabjit was born in a Jat Sikh family in 1980 in Panchkula. She did her matriculation from a school in Sector 12, Panchkula. She did her class XII from government vocational institute. She then passed her second year from Kurukshetra University and got married in the final year to Jagtar Jagga who is from Manimajra.

Sarabjit says her aim is to make Chandigarh the cleanest city of the country along with strengthening and conveying the party’s ideology to every resident of the city.

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