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Thursday, November 26, 2020

Mayor Malik succumbs to party’s pressure, announces House meet on October 29

In the House meeting which was scheduled for October 20, all BJP councillors, except councillor Mahesh Inder Sidhu, boycotted the meeting that led to adjournment of the General House.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh | October 27, 2020 10:03:46 am
Raj Bala Malik, Chandigarh mayorMayor of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation Raj Bala Malik. Express Photo: Sumit Malhotra

Succumbing to the BJP’s pressure, Mayor Raj Bala Malik finally decided to convene a physical House meeting on October 29. A notice received by all the councillors in this regard on Monday evening stated that the adjourned meeting will be held in the Assembly Hall on October 29 at 2 pm.

Sources said that after October 20 when the councillors boycotted the meeting, two senior leaders of the party, including general secretary, met the mayor requesting her to hold a physical meeting within this month but they were told that the meeting will be held next month.
After this response of the mayor, a meeting of 40 BJP members, including office-bearers, took place. An intimation about the mayor’s adamant behaviour as claimed by party members also reached the high-ups in Delhi.

“An option of moving a no-confidence motion against the mayor was being discussed,” a senior BJP leader said.

Sources in the party said that the go-ahead by senior leaders was given to take action against the mayor. However, city BJP chief Arun Sood said that a chance be given as it would affect the party image as well.

On October 25, a meeting of Core Committee took place. Mayor Raj Bala Malik was told that she was not keeping the party discipline.
Sources stated that she was also told that enforcement challans which were for about Rs 8 lakh had been increased to Rs 21 lakh in times of pandemic — something that is not in the interest of public. Also, certain other things were pointed out.

Leader of Opposition and Congress councillor Devinder Singh Babla, however, said that Mayor Malik had to succumb to the Congress’s pressure of calling a physical meeting.

In the House meeting which was scheduled for October 20, all BJP councillors, except councillor Mahesh Inder Sidhu, boycotted the meeting that led to adjournment of the General House.

The incident had brought to the fore the chinks in the BJP, with party councillors cornering the mayor for not paying heed to the party councillors’ request of holding a physical House meeting. The issue was also conveyed to general secretary (organisation) Dinesh Kumar for further action.

Party leaders were unhappy with the decision of not including review of water tariff agenda as well.

What happened on October 20

On October 20, the meeting was scheduled to be held at 2 pm through video conference. All five Congress councillors came to attend the meeting virtually. SAD councillor Hardeep Singh too was present. From all BJP councillors, only Mahesh Inder Singh Sidhu, who is said to be close to Mayor Raj Bala Malik, was present and the remaining had boycotted.

A statement issued by state general secretary of the BJP, Ramveer Bhatti, said that in May, June, July and August, councillors from almost all parties felt that they were unable to put their point together properly due to the virtual meeting.

They had said that be it the increased water tariff, issues of garbage collectors or anything, the councillors were not able to get any specific reply from the officers and for that, a physical meeting was important. “Officers didn’t want the councillors to attend the meeting physically and were trying to stop the councillors from coming to the House,” the statement by the party had said on the evening of October 20.

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