Although started by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to woo the masses and listen to their grievances, the concept of sangat darshan has started a cold war in the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation.
Three sangat darshans — by Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria, MC Commissioner Pradeep Aggarwal, and Independent councillors supported by MLA Simarjit Singh Bains — are being held on a weekly basis.
Earlier, the mayor, also a close aide of the CM, had claimed that he was the first to start sangat darshan for people of Ludhiana.
On Monday, the controversy took another turn as the mayor locked the room in Zone C where the Independent councillors have been conducting sangat darshan for many years.
Independent councillor Parminder Singh Soma from ward 68 told Newsline, “For 12 years we have been conducting sangat darshan sitting in room of Gill road, Zone C, MC office. Today when we went there, the room was locked and it was done deliberately to stop us from doing sewa of the public. Mayor’s office boy told us that room has been locked on orders of mayor and he has even taken the key along.”
Councillors from the Bains group like Swarandeep Singh Chahal and Rajit Singh also accompanied Soma and later they sat on the floor and sangat darshan went on.
MLA Bains said it was not for the first time. “Earlier when I completed two terms as councillor of area, former mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura applied the same tactic to stop us and got the room locked. It is a councillors’ room and not a private property. Badals are fooling the public in the name of sangat darshan but we have been doing this for years,” he said.
However, the mayor denied all allegations. “The room was long back converted into mayor’s room. It is not meant for sangat darshan of councillors,” he told Newsline.