December 20, 2011 12:13:46 am
Voters choose 19 new faces,oust many Congress heavyweights; rebels prevent both Cong and BJP-Akalis from getting majority
The results of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (MC) elections declared today threw up a hung verdict. The city residents have not favoured any one party over the other. However,the Congress received a jolt with most of its heavyweight candidates losing the election. Of the 26 wards for which elections were held,the BJP-SAD alliance got 12 seats,Congress 11 and BSP two. One seat was won by an independent candidate.
The seat share of the Congress decreased from the previous election held in 2006. In that election the Congress had won 12 seats,BJP-SAD eight,BSP one and independents four. The election to one seat was held later due to the death of a candidate before the election. After the by-election and defections throughout the five-year tenure of the House,the Congress ended up with 15 seats,BJP-SAD 10 and BSP one.
There are as many as 19 newcomers in the MC House,with most upsetting the applecart of senior leaders. Urban voters seemed to have favoured the BJP,with most of the wards comprising of Sectors being won by the party.
It was a close call for the parties in many seats. The lowest victory margin was in ward 21 where Heera Negi of the BJP won by 120 votes over Congress candidate Indu Singla. The highest margin was in ward 14 where Rana Kashmira Devi of the Congress won by 2,779 votes against the BJP candidate.
Most of the heavyweights of the Congress lost the election. These include Chander Mukhi Sharma,Devinder Singh Babla,Kamlesh,Jatinder Bhatia,H S Lucky and Anu Chatrath. Many among these are close to Union Minister Pawan Bansal. Chatrath and Kamlesh have been mayor twice.
Kamlesh had been a councillor in the civic body for the last three terms. In fact,she was the only Congress councillor to be elected when the civic body was constituted in 1996. She lost to first time contestant of the BJP Rajinder Kaur Rattu.
Chatrath and Babla lost to BJP candidates Saurabh Joshi and Satinder Singh respectively. Both these candidates had been fielded by the BJP for the first time and were contesting against sitting councillors.
In the 2006 elections,Babla had the highest victory margin of 3,758 votes. This time he lost by 919 votes. Chatrath,meanwhile,had been the councillor from the area for the past one decade.
Chander Mukhi Sharma lost to Harjinder Kaur from ward 15. Sharma had been forced to contest from a different ward after ward 1,from where he was a sitting councillor,was reserved for a woman candidate. Talks with Chatrath to swap wards did not yield any result. Jatinder Bhatia lost to Davesh Moudgil of the BJP.
In the BJP,Satinder Dhawan,wife of senior leader Harmohan Dhawan,lost to first time candidate Raj Bala Malik. Dhawan was being projected as BJPs mayoral candidate.
Seasoned leaders stage comeback
Congress candidate Pardeep Chhabra won the election from ward 3 for the third time in a row. He won the seat with a margin of 2167 votes. Rajesh Gupta from ward 16 retained his seat by defeating Congress candidate H S Lucky for the second time.
Gurcharan Dass Kala,who contested as an independent,retained his ward. Sheela Phool Singh and H C Kalyan,both sitting councillors of the Congress,won in their wards.
Harjinder Kaur retained her seat in ward 15. Subhash Chawla,former mayor who had lost the last election,defeated SAD candidate J S Kang by a margin of 1,671 votes.
For both the BJP and the Congress,the rebels ensured defeat of many candidates. With there being more claimants in the parties than seats,many prospective candidates rebelled and contested as independents. Both the parties had,in fact,suspended a number of leaders and given notices to others for anti-party activities.
The BJP lost in most of the seats where it changed nomineees after the first list was announced. These included wards 25,11 and 20. Meanwhile,Congress rebels ensured the defeat of the partys candidates in ward 15 and 26.
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