While the nomination process for the Panchkula Municipal Corporation elections had started on December 11, it was only on Tuesday that candidates started pouring in to file their papers. As many as 32 candidates filed nominations, out of which 30 were for the post of councillor while two (from BJP) were for the post of mayor.
The BJP has fielded Kulbhushan Goyal for the post of mayor. He and his wife Anju Goyal filed nominations before the returning officer and ADC Mohammad Imran Raza on Tuesday.
The others who filed their papers for the post of councillor include Benu Rao from ward 3, Praveen and Manish from ward 6, Praveen Kumari from ward 7, Congress’s Ravikant Swamy and wife Mamta Swamy from ward 8, Congress’s Gurmail Kaur from ward 10, Omwati Poonia from ward 11, Rajkumar, Balkar Saini, Congress’s Naveen Bansal from ward 13, Vivek Sharma and JJP’s Sushil Garg from ward 14, Congress’s Gautam Prasad and Jitendra Prasad from ward 15, Salgiram from ward 16, JJP’s Amarinder Singh and Kanhaiya Gupta from ward 18, Paramjeet Kaur, Harpreet Kaur and Ritu Rani from ward 19 and Rakesh Kumar from ward 20 also filed their nominations.
The BJP and JJP have decided to fight the Panchkula MC elections in alliance. While 16 seats and the post of mayor have been held by the BJP, the JJP has been given four seats of councillors to contest from.
BJP targets former mayor, says ‘works to stop development’
The war of words began on day one of campaigning by Haryana Vidhan Sabha Speaker and local MLA Gian Chand Gupta, who during the previous MC term between 2013-18 headed by the then mayor, Congress’s Upinder Kaur Ahluwalia, had remained at constant friction.
Gupta said that “no development work but only horse trading is done in Congress. Everyone knows how the Congress Mayor adopted tricks to stop the development while working in the Municipal Corporation. The money given by the BJP for the development of the city was wasted, so people will definitely vote for BJP councillors in the municipal corporation and wards and Kulbhushan Goyal for the post of mayor, so that development in the city may be ensured.
Gupta targeted Ahluwalia by saying “the former mayor left no stone unturned to stop development, the BJP will thus be elected to power this time”.
BJP Mayoral candidate Kulbhushan Goyal has stated that he has several plans for the development of Panchkula on the lines of foreign countries. “Picnic spots will be built in many places. People will be relieved from the dumping ground. Clean drinking water, sewerage system, road reconditioning, beautification of parks, conversion of lights into LED, provision of all facilities in trans-Ghaggar areas, covering drains in Mansa Devi Complex, all other basic facilities will be undertaken on a priority basis,” he said.
The BJP claims all-round development will happen only if they are voted to power in MC elections as well. BJP district president Ajay Sharma said that the development work done by Gupta in Panchkula will benefit more if BJP’s mayoral candidates and councillors are elected.
Umesh Sood, a senior BJP member, said that “there was a flood of scandals during the tenure of Congress, but today the time has changed, the brave people of India made Narendra Modi Prime Minister, Manohar Lal Khattar was made Haryana Chief Minister. Gian Chand Gupta was elected as an MLA from Panchkula Assembly. Now make Kulbhushan Goyal the Mayor of Panchkula, so that river of development flows across the city.”
The JJP’s head for the city also gave support to BJP on this occasion.
The BJP took out rallies in the city before reaching the Panchkula mini-secretariat to file nomination.
The BJP’s Mayoral candidate Kulbhushan Goyal, 60, is a real estate developer. He is the managing director-cum-CEO of Amarnath Agarwal Group of Companies, which owns a real estate project named Amravati Enclave in Panchkula, having a shopping mall, NH-21 Mall, within its premises.
Goyal’s group has also invested in a real estate business at Baddi, the industrial hub of Himachal Pradesh. His other posts include president of Aggarwal Sammelan (Haryana), president of Mata Mansa Devi Gaudham, president of Aggarwal Sabha, Panchkula, president of Dhanwantry Ayurvedic College, Sector 46, Chandigarh, president of Panchkula Welfare Trust, vice-president of Aggarwal Trust, Jwala Ji (HP), and secretary of Bhavan Vidalaya, Sector -15 Panchkula.
Cong’s Mayor candidate Upinder Ahluwalia starts poll campaign
Former mayor Upinder Kaur Ahluwalia of the Congress launched her campaign with the inauguration of Congress poll campaign office in Sector 14 here on Tuesday.
Chander Mohan, the former Haryana deputy chief minister, who unsuccessfully fought the 2019 Assembly elections from Panchkula, along with other senior party leaders inaugurated the office.
A post-graduate from Panjab University, Ahluwalia had remained Panchkula mayor from 2013-2018. During her tenure, she claims to have carried out many development works and projects in town.
“We will start from where we left off in June 2018,” she said, adding, “All development works and projects started during our tenure are lying incomplete. After getting elected, all incomplete projects, which were started or proposed by us, would be given consideration on a priority basis.”
Talking about her agenda, she said that due to Covid-19, health and sanitation would be my priority. “The dumping site and landfill — which has remained a prime concern for the trans-Ghaggar residents– would be relocated to an area away from the residential areas. We would set up a legalised housing of stray cattle besides checking stray dogs menace in the city,” she said, stressing the pain points which have pestered the residents of the city for long.
“The uplift of slum areas, increased police patrolling and installation of CCTV cameras, maintenance and beautification of public parks, establishment of old age home in villages and shelter homes for the underprivileged and installation of public libraries in community centres and in villages will be my other top agendas,” she stated.
INLD backs out
With the INLD boycotting the Haryana municipal elections, the stage is set for a direct fight between the BJP-JJP and the Congress in Panchkula.
The INLD mayoral candidate, Seema Chaudhary, had won the first MC elections in 2003 with a record margin and had begun campaigning before the INLD announced the boycott of elections on Tuesday.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines