With the threat of cross-voting looming large over the party in Friday’s mayoral elections, the city unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday asked its councillor, Farmila, to give it in writing that “her vote will go in support of official candidate Rajesh Kalia.” In 2015, despite having 14 councillors against nine of the Congress, the latter’s Poonam Sharma had won the mayoral polls due to cross-voting by the BJP.
Farmila was one of the four SC candidates in the running for the mayoral post. After Kalia was declared the official candidate, she had thrown her lot behind rebel candidate Satish Kainth and even signed his nomination letter as a ‘seconder’. However, the BJP managed to get an undertaking by Farmila, which stated that “it was out of emotions” that she signed on Kainth’s nomination, but she will now support the official candidate Kalia.
Farmila said, “Party ne kaha ki likh k do ki aap sath ho…to maine likh k dediya. Or vaise bhi main kisi vyakti ke sath nahi hun apni party ke sath hun…jo party ne ab keh diya to vahi mere liye sabse upar hai…party ko maine apna virodh bhi jataya (The party asked me to write that I am with them, so I wrote this statement. Even otherwise I am not supporting any individual but, the party. Earlier, I had shown my resentment to the party).”
The letter stated that she was “a fully-devoted worker of the party and can’t even think of going against the party”.
Specifying that it was out of emotion she signed on the rebel candidate’s nomination, she said that her vote will go in favour of Kalia only.
She further specified that she “respects the decision of the BJP central leadership on the selection of nominee for the election of Chandigarh mayor and would always stand by the decision made by her senior leaders”.
Farmila was the lone Scheduled Caste candidate in the party with a clean image, besides being the most-educated among the contenders. This year the mayor’s seat is reserved for SCs.
Disappointed at not being considered for the mayoral seat, Farmila had said she was a “victim of bad politics within the party”. Cross-voting is not new to the party. In 2017, BJP councillor Heera Negi lost the seat of Finance and Contract Committee due to cross-voting in the elections by party councillors who helped Congress’s Devinder Singh Babla win.