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Mayoral polls: Nine nominated councillors can change game

Neither the BJP, nor the Congress has a majority in the MC house.

Chandigarh |
January 3, 2015 4:23:30 am
Mayoral Polls During filing of nomination papers at MC office in Sector 17, Chandigarh. (Source: Express Photo by Sumit Malhotra)

By: Vivek Gupta

The nominated councillors, who hold the key in the mayoral elections scheduled for January 6, owe their membership of the general house of the municipal corporation to the Congress, but they are no longer under Congress influence.

At the same time, they are keeping their cards close to the chest, keeping the BJP and the Congress both in suspense.

Neither the BJP, nor the Congress has a majority in the MC house. The nine nominated councillors, therefore, can tilt the balance whichever way they want. In the last three mayoral elections, they mostly voted for the Congress candidates. This time, no one can say how they will vote.

Surinder Bahga, one of the nominated councillors, said, “In the past elections, there was certain influence exerted by the Congress on us. It was also due to the fact that we were new. Now the Congress pressure is waning. But it does not mean that we will be voting for the BJP candidates. We will judge the candidates and then decide.”

Echoing Bahga, another nominated councillor, Major DS Sandhu, said that they were not thinking of voting for any particular party. “The merits of the candidates will decide our votes’’, he said.

Anoop Sunny Gill said, “For us, the past performance of the candidates will be a deciding factor. We are doing research on their performance and education status’’. He said that BJP’s Hira Negi had remained very active in the past, but Congress’s Poonam Sharma was comparatively better qualified.

Most of the nominated councillors will hold a meeting tomorrow, but are unlikely to make a formal announcement at the end of it. Professor Aruna Goel said that they would have a detailed discussion on the candidates, but it would be left to each nominated councillor to vote as he or she liked.

Sat Pal Bansal said that the nominated councillors were never bound to any political party in the past also. “That is the reason that in the last elections, the posts of senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor were won by the BJP. Our single-point agenda will be the merit of the candidates, he said.

However Babu Lal, another nominated councillor, said making a choice this time would be difficult as the candidates personally knew them very well. “All candidates are seeking our blessings. Let’s see on which candidate the luck smiles in the end’’, he said.

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