February 19, 2021 4:06:26 am
CONGRESS WON in 37 out of 50 wards in the Mohali Municipal Corporation (MC) elections, results of which were declared Thursday. Independent candidates won in two wards while candidates of the Azad Group-AAP alliance managed to win in 11 wards. The SAD and BJP were routed in the elections and both parties failed to win even a single ward.
As many as 27 wards were required for a majority in the 50-member House, which Congress achieved comfortably and wrested the municipal corporation from SAD after a gap of ten years.
The counting of votes started at 9 am. Counting for ward nos. 1 to 25 was held at Multi-Purpose Sports Stadium in Sector 78 while counting for 26 to 50 was held at Punjab Mandi Board in Phase XI.
The Congress was ahead from the beginning, while SAD and BJP were never seen in the competition. However, the Azad Group-AAP alliance posed little resistance and managed to win in 11 wards.
In 2015, the SAD-BJP alliance won a total of 23 seats (17 SAD, 6 BJP), while Congress managed to win 14 wards. Two wards were won by the independent candidates and 11 were won by Kulwant Singh’s Azad Group.
Kulwant Singh lost and former SAD councillors also failed to win. The BJP too failed to make any mark. Both the parties were contesting for the first time after parting ways over the fallout on three farm laws.
However, Balbir Singh Sidhu’s brother Amarjeet Singh Jeeti Sidhu won the elections. Former Deputy Mayor Manjeet Singh Sethi too won the elections as an independent candidate. Former senior deputy mayor Rishab Jain also won.
SAD managed to get around 6,000 votes in 50 wards while the BJP managed to get around 5,000.
What went in favour of Congress
Local MLA and Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu hand-picked the candidates and campaigned for them to ensure their win. The party managed to win the wards in newly developed areas of the city where the people were complaining of lesser development by promising to overhaul infrastructure.
SAD succumbs to factionalism
Sources said the party suffered due to factionalism. Most of the former councillors wanted not to contest the elections on party symbol but the party high command allegedly refused to listen to them and appointed a committee comprising former Anandpur Sahib MP Prem Singh Chandumajra, former mayor Kulwant Singh, former councillor Kamaljeet Singh Ruby and party leader Charanjeet Singh Brar. The councillors rebelled under the leadership of Kulwant Singh and the formed Azad Group. The party found it difficult to find 50 candidates.
BJP faces anger
The party managed to win six wards in 2015 in alliance with SAD. This time the anger of people over agri laws was visible as the party candidates had complained that people posing as farmers had stopped them from campaigning. All the six former councillors lost elections. In more than 25 wards the party candidates failed to get more than 100 votes.
AAP fails to hold on to its base
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the main opposition party in the state, also failed to win a single ward in the city. The party allied with SAD rebel and former mayor Kulwant Singh, but it failed to hold on its base. In 2017 state Assembly elections, the party’s candidate Narinder Shergill managed to get around 40,000 votes and was the runner-up.
Party leaders speak:
“I thank the people for this verdict. We shall ensure all-round development of the city. This win also showed that the Congress party is working for the welfare of the people in the state. I wish good luck to all the winning candidates and urge them to connect to their people in their respective wards.”
Punjab Health Minister and local MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu
“I accept people’s verdict. During my tenure I worked for the development of the city. Various new projects were brought to the city. I urge the winning councillors of my group to keep working for the people and raising the issues of development in the House.”
Former mayor and Azad Group leader, Kulwant Singh
“It was our first election in which we fought independently, we accepted the people’s verdict and will find what went wrong.”
Sukhwinder Goldy, BJP leader.
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