BATTLELINES FOR the mayoral elections were drawn as the candidates for the posts of mayor, senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor of the Congress and BJP-SAD alliance filed their nominations on Monday.
Few minutes before filing the nomination papers, the Congress announced councillor Mukesh Bassi as their nominee for the post of mayor, Darshan Garg for the post of senior deputy mayor and Gurbax Rawat for the post of deputy mayor.
The leaders of BJP-SAD arrived first at the office of Joint Commissioner Rajiv Gupta to file the papers. To support nominee Arun Sood for the post of mayor, Davesh Moudgil for the post of senior deputy mayor and Hardeep Singh for the post of deputy mayor, all the senior leaders, including local MP Kirron Kher, city BJP chief Sanjay Tandon and former union minister Harmohan Dhawan were present. Former MP Satya Pal Jain was said to have gone on official work to Guwahati.
Hoping to get the mayor’s post after 15 years, the BJP made sure that they filed the papers only at an auspicious time as suggested by priests. Despite initial plans of some leaders to start the process at 11 in the morning, the BJP candidates filed the papers at 12.24 pm. All the BJP councillors were present except Sat Prakash Aggarwal who had an emergency at home.
The Congress leaders filed the nominations in the afternoon. They were accompanied by former city MP Pawan Kumar Bansal. The rift within the Congress was evident as senior leaders like Chandramukhi Sharma, Ravinder Pali and former city Congress president B B Bahl were absent.
In the 36-member House, while the Congress has eight councillors, the BJP has 13, BSP two, Independent one and SAD two. There are nine nominated councillors. Local MP is the ex-officio member of the House.
Despite having only eight councillors, Bansal was sure of the Congress victory. City Congress chief Pradeep Chhabra said that the party would surely get the support of nominated councillors.
On the issue of nominated councillors having voting rights that sparked a controversy of late, Bansal said, “We were the ones to introduce their voting rights in the Act. Nominated councillors are the most important part of the House since they hold expertise in some or the other subjects.”
However, a few days ago, Congress leader Manish Tewari had raised questions over nomination of councillors to the MC.