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Dinner, home visits: Parties go all out to woo nominated councillors

After joint meeting, the councillors announce they are ‘neutral’.

Chandigarh |
January 4, 2015 3:40:29 am

By: Vivek Gupta

From dinner diplomacy to home visits, all the nine nominated councillors are being wooed in different ways by both the BJP and the Congress ahead of the Mayoral elections scheduled for January 6.

The nine councillors hold the key in the election of mayor, senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor as neither the BJP nor the Congress enjoy a clear majority in the MC House.

Through the day, the nominated councillors were individually approached by both parties even as they refused to unveil their choice of candidates after a joint meeting they held on Saturday.

If sources are to believed, BJP’s senior leader Harmohan Dhawan has invited them for a dinner on Sunday and most of them are likely to attend.

Outgoing Mayor H C Kalyan, too, hosted a high tea for them at his official residence Friday in an attempt to seek support for Congress candidates. Former MP Pawan Kumar Bansal is also said to be in touch with the nominated councillors.

However, after their meeting Saturday, the nominated councillors announced themselves as “neutral”.

Significantly, in the last three mayoral polls, they had mostly voted for Congress candidates as most owe their membership to the party. But with the BJP gaining ground, locally and nationally, most councillors are now supposedly in two minds this time.

A nominated councillor, Sat Paul Bansal, however, said they were clear in their strategy to choose the candidate. He added the allegation that nominated councillors have political allegiance is baseless.

“We have remained neutral in the past too and one message that has come out strongly in our Saturday’s meeting is that we would not go with any political party, rather go for candidates on the basis of merit,” he said.

Asked who is a better candidate between BJP’s Heera Negi and Congress’ Poonam Sharma, nominated councillor Major (retd.) D S Sandhu said that only his ballot paper on the election day would answer that.

“We have thoroughly discussed the merits and demerits of all the candidates in the fray in our meeting,” he said.

Babu Lal, another nominated councuillor, said, “We all are united and would vote unitedly. The rumours that we stand divided in our loyalties politically or otherwise for the upcoming elections are untrue. Our single-point agenda is to choose the best candidate who would help in the city’s development,” he said
Meanwhile, despite rain, both BJP and Congress candidates visited all nominated councillors to seek support. A senior Congress leader said their party got a very positive response from all of them.

BSP councillor Janat Jahan said both the parties visited her place but she had yet not made up her mind.

Tandon joins party candidates

Conspicuous by his absence during the nomination of his party candidates on Friday, BJP city president Sanjay Tandon was seen with his party contingent Saturday.

Nominated councillor Tiwari in hospital

Nominated councillor Dr Amrit Tiwari is admitted in PGI since Friday due to a medical emergency. She said she is hopeful to cast her vote as her condition improved Saturday.

The break-up

In A House of 35 members, with one vacancy, the BJP has the support of 15 councillors, including one of the Shiromani Akali Dal and Kirron Kher who is an ex-officio member.

The Congress has nine members and the BSP two. Besides, there are the nine nominated councillors who have the voting right. For winning the election, a candidate will need a minimum of 18 votes.

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