Congress Councillors and other party members on Tuesday sidelined city Congress chief Pardeep Chhabra when they went to meet former union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal to discuss the candidate for the mayoral polls and also wish him happy New Year. The discussion on the mayoral candidate took place in the absence of Chhabra.
Sources said that some of the Congress councillors were not in favour of Chhabra joining them for the discussions. Those who were present at Bansal’s residence were councillors Devinder Singh Babla, Gurbax Rawat, Sheela Phool Singh and Ravinder Kaur Gujral and other senior party leaders including Subhash Chawla, H S Lucky, Bhupinder Badheri, Kamlesh, Kesar Singh, Ramcharan Gupta, Vinod Sharma, Shashi Shankar and Tewari.
Bansal said that everybody had come to wish him New Year and there were certain discussions. However, he said, “Any conclusive decision would be taken only after discussions with city Congress chief Pardeep Chhabra.”
Chhabra did not respond to repeated calls and messages. Sources said that Congress councillor Devinder Singh Babla is expected to be the candidate for the mayor’s post. A senior Congress leader on the condition of anonymity said, “Most of us do not want Chhabra to be part of the discussions because he doesn’t take decisions on merit.”
The city Congress unit too has been facing factionalism. Ever since the Congress has faced an embarrassing defeat in the Municipal Corporation elections held in 2016 here, most of the Congress party leaders have gone against Chhabra. Questions were raised on the selection of candidates for the MC polls and it was alleged by certain candidates that Chhabra had not done the selection on merit. Some of them even alleged that senior party leaders were not taken into confidence while holding meetings on campaigning strategies as well.