The Congress’s defeat in Chandigarh, the second biggest one under the leadership of the party’s Chandigarh unit chief Pradeep Chhabra after municipal corporation polls, has spurred murmurs about dissatisfaction within the unit about Chhabra, who is considered a close aide of Pawan Bansal.
Due to infighting within the Congress, its firebrand leader, former mayor Poonam Sharma, had switched sides and joined BJP. Many senior party councillors also surfaced late during the campaign.
In 2016, the Congress had suffered an embarrassing defeat when only four of its 26 councillors made it to the MC elections. Chabbra had then offered his resignation, but it was not accepted by the high command.
Moreover, many former Congress councillors, loyal to Manish Tewari, a prospective candidate at the time — were missing in action even after Tewari extended his support to Bansal after he was fielded from Anandpur Sahib. Sources said these former councillors were not happy with Chabbra for not taking them along.
Another incident being talked about is that of Women’s Day, when Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu’s women supporters were allegedly not allowed to enter Congress Bhawan, leaving many miffed.
Following this, Poonam Sharma had joined BJP. She was seen saying that she wanted a “Bansal-mukt” Chandigarh, further claiming that no woman face of the Congress was seen throughout campaigning except councillor Gurbax Rawat.
After the results, Congress councillors who were among the counting agents were seen embracing BJP leader and former MP Satya Pal Jain to congratulate him for party’s win.