THE ONCE confident Chandigarh BJP Chief Sanjay Tandon’s camp, which boasted of 14 out of 20 councillors by its side, seems to be gradually thinning out as it is left with the support of just seven councillors now, when it came to supporting the party’s official candidate, Davesh Moudgil.
Initially, the 14 councillors were supporting outgoing mayor Asha Jaswal, who is going against the party to take on Moudgil. But now, most of them have started switching sides as the election date is nearing and pressure from the high command has started building up. Jaswal is from Tandon’s camp while Moudgil is backed by MP Kirron Kher and former MP Satya Pal Jain.
Jaswal had claimed that she was sure of winning as 14 councillors, who never wanted Moudgil as mayor, were supporting her. Now, those left with Jaswal are councillors Arun Sood, Ravi Kant Sharma, Satish Kainth, Sunita Dhawan, Rajesh Kalia, Shakti Devshali and Vinod Aggarwal.
Maheshinder Singh Sidhu, a Tandon loyalist, said, “I was also among them but whatever they (Jaswal and camp) are doing is totally unwarranted. They are denting the party’s image. Rather they are also tarnishing the president’s image. When the party high command has taken a decision, we must respect it and go ahead to support the party’s choice.”
Senior Deputy Mayor Rajesh Gupta, too, echoed the same. “I am not with anybody in particular. It is just that the party is supreme. No one should go against the party. Whatever party has decided, should be respected.”
Sources said Raj Bala Malik, Jagtar Singh Jagga and Gurpreet Dhillon were also believed to be with the party’s decision.
Councillor Gurpeet Dhillon told Chandigarh Newsline, “Of course there is resentment in the party. Lekin jo high command ne decision liya hai usse follow to karna padega.”
A councillor from Tandon’s camp, on condition of anonymity, said, “I agree the senior leaders should have heard the concerns of all the councillors. But, there is no point in tarnishing the party’s image. Once a decision has been taken, we must support Moudgil. Certain councillors, who have a personal grudge against Moudgil, are pushing Jaswal not to budge.”
Tandon’s camp is now trying to seek the support of Congress councillors, who are just four in strength. A candidate needs 14 of the 27 votes to sail through. One vote is of MP Kher.
On the other hand, the official BJP nominee, Davesh Moudgil, met rebel candidate Asha Jaswal on Friday in the presence of party general secretary (organisation) Dinesh Kumar. Moudgil tried to pacify Jaswal. Sources said Jaswal did not give any definite answer and said that she would consult all her fellow councillors.
“We had discussions with her in the presence of the BJP chief and our general secretary, organisation. Things will be sorted out and I am sure good sense will prevail,” said Moudgil.