A TRADER, businessmen, a doctor, an advocate, retired defence personnel and social activists will be part of the Municipal Corporation as nominated councillors. The list of nine nominated councillors was finalised by the UT Administration on Thursday. However, in a first, four of the nine nominated councillors are active BJP members. Another nominated councillor is the daughter of a BJP office-bearer. Crying foul over the appointments, leaders of the Congress said that the development was “most unfortunate”.
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As per the Municipal Corporation Act, nominated councillors should be experts in their respective fields. While in the past the nominated councillors have openly supported political parties and even become active members at the end of their tenure of five years, active members of political parties have not been nominated to the Municipal Corporation.
Among those nominated this time is senior BJP leader Kamla Sharma, who was the first mayor of the city in 1997 when the Municipal Corporation came into existence in Chandigarh. Another nominated councillor, Sachin Kumar Lohtiya, is an advocate by profession and a former president of the SC Morcha of BJP. He was an aspirant for BJP ticket for the Municipal Corporation elections this time. While he was denied the ticket, he has now been rewarded by being made a nominated councillor.
Haji Mohd Khurshid Ali is the president of minority morcha of the BJP. Sat Prakash Aggarwal, who was an elected councillor in the outgoing House, had switched over from the Congress to the BJP. He refused to contest the elections this time, even though the party was willing to offer him a ticket. He has been nominated to the House.
Another name on the list is that of Shipra Bansal. She is the daughter of general secretary of the BJP’s Mahila Morcha Sabina Bansal. She is the youngest among the nominated councillors. In the 36-member MC House, there are 26 elected councillors and nine nominated councillors. The city MP is an ex-officio member. The BJP-SAD alliance won 21 out of 26 seats in the elections of the Municipal Corporation. The results were declared on December 20.
Among others who have been nominated is Maj Gen (Retd) M S Kandal who is the eldest member of the House. He joined as a cadet in 1949 and was commissioned in 1953. Actively involved in social work now, he holds socio-medical camps for people from the economically weaker sections. Dr Jyotsna Wig, former head of anaesthesia department of PGI, was also a sub-dean at the institute. She retired in 2014 after 42 years of service at the institute.
Ajay Dutta is the national general secretary of the Bharat Vikas Parishad that runs a charitable diagnostic centre in Sector 24. The organisation is involved in social work in different fields. Another member, Charanjiv Singh, is a trader and the chairman of Chandigarh Beopar Mandal.
Congress leader Pardeep Chhabra said that the nominations were “unfortunate”. “It is for the first time that active members of a political party have been nominated to the House. The purpose of appointment of nominated councillors is to ensure that experts from different fields are appointed. It seems that even after getting majority in the House, the BJP is insecure and wanted to fill the House with its members. It has set a very wrong precedent,” said Chhabra. Outgoing mayor and BJP leader Arun Sood, meanwhile, said that the councillors had been nominated by the administration based on their merit.
Nominated councillors have been most sought after by political parties during mayoral elections. In fact, there has been much debate within parties over whether the nominated councillors should have voting rights. This time with BJP being in absolute majority, it did not need support of the nominated councillors for the elections.
New nominated councillors: Trader, advocate, social activist, politician…
Charanjiv Singh, 59, Trader Educational qualification: BCom, LLB “I will be raising traders’ issues in the Municipal Corporation. Beautification of markets and finding solution to the problem of parking will be among my priorities.”
Ajay Dutta, 62, Social activist Educational qualification: Graduate “Through the platform of MC, I will ensure that world-class medical services are provided to people from all sections. We are already doing charitable work as part of Bharat Vikas Parishad. I would like to take this forward.”
Sachin Kumar Lohtiya, 41, Advocate Educational qualification: BA, LLB “My focus will be on providing better facilities in the rehabilitation colonies and slums in Chandigarh.”
Haji Mohd Khurshid Ali, 52, Businessman Educational qualification: Class X “I will work on any MC programme I am asked to. I will also take up issues and problems of the minorities in the MC.”
Dr Jyotsna Wig, 67, Former head of department of anaesthesia, PGI “My priority will be to ensure betterment of the city, particularly in the area of health where I feel I have a lot to contribute.”
Shipra Bansal, 33, Social activist Educational qualification: MA Sociology, MBA (HR), pursuing Masters in Mass Communication “My priority will be to ensure that Chandigarh becomes a cashless city and people adapt to new technology. I will work for the uplift of women and children, and start self-help groups.”
Kamla Sharma, 65, Politician Educational qualification: Graduate “The city and Municipal Corporation have come a long way since I was the mayor. I want to ensure that the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make the city more beautiful is fulfilled. Further, we will work towards making Chandigarh a Smart City.”
Maj Gen M S Kandal, 84, Veteran defence personnel and social activist Educational qualification: BTech, MSc in defence studies “I am a sewadar and will continue to do sewa here as well. I have never been involved in activities of the Municipal Corporation before. I hope to make a difference.”
Sat Prakash Aggarwal, 59, Businessman Educational qualification: Graduate “As an elected councillor, I was working for one ward. Now I will work for the whole city. I will hold discussions with other nominated councillors on issues impacting the city. We will take up any problems that people of the city have.”