Amid the ongoing farmers’ protest, the BJP-JJP alliance in Haryana suffered a jolt in mayoral polls for three Municipal Corporations — Ambala, Panchkula and Sonipat — which were held on December 27. The counting of votes took place on Wednesday.
The BJP only won the mayoral poll in Panchkula, while the Congress too could not secure big gains even as it won in Sonipat. In Ambala, former Union Minister Venod Sharma’s wife won the mayoral poll.
It was for the first time that direct elections were held for mayoral posts in the three cities.
Elections were also held for civic chiefs of Rewari municipal council and three municipal committees of Dharuhera, Uklana and Sampla.
The BJP won the election for Rewari civic body chief too while former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda backed Independent candidate won Sampla MC president’s post.
The JJP of Dushyant Chautala suffered a major setback with the party losing the poll battle for Uklana as well Dharuhera civic body chief. BJP and JJP had fought the civic body polls jointly.
In November this year, the ruling combine had failed to win the Baroda Assembly bypolls in Sonipat, with the Congress retaining the seat.
In 2018, the BJP had won mayoral polls in Hisar, Karnal, Panipat, Rohtak and Yamunanagar.
Alliance performed well: BJP
Haryana BJP president Om Prakash Dhankar, however, expressed satisfaction over the poll results stating they have won the poll for chief of two civic bodies — Panchkula and Rewari, while Congress’s official nominee could win only Sonipat mayoral poll.
“In three Municipal Corporations, the BJP-JJP alliance have performed well in ward elections too where the votes were cast for 20 wards for each of the cities. In Panchkula, we have won in 11 wards, in Sonipat 10 and in Ambala, we have won 8,” Dhankar told The Indian Express.
Another senior BJP leader said, “There was impact of the current environment (because of ongoing farmer agitation) on civic body polls even as the elections were fought on local issues.”
Cong needs to introspect: Hooda
Former CM Bhupinder Hooda said, “Congress has secured a big victory in Sonipat where the party nominee has won by a margin of about 14,000 votes. While the BJP mayoral candidate (in Panchkula) and (Rewari) civic body chief could secure win by just about 2,000 votes in each place. The BJP has suffered major losses and the people have shown that they are against it.”
The former Chief Minister also called for introspection by Congress for facing defeat in Panchkula and Ambala polls.
The results have also indicated ongoing infighting in Congress. Sources close to Hooda claim he was not called for campaigning in Ambala and Panchkula which fall in the Ambala parliamentary constituency of state party president Kumari Selja.
“Wherever, Hooda went, the Congress candidates have performed well. You take examples of Sonipat and Sampla. Even in Rewari, we have won some wards where voting had taken place for councillors and Hooda had gone for campaigning,” said a close associate of Hooda.
The Congress lost the Panchkula mayoral election by a thin margin of about 2,000 votes where party candidate Upinder Kaur Ahluwalia was voted nearly 48,000 votes. Here, BJP’s Kulbhusan Goyal won the poll battle. Panchkula is the Assembly constituency of Vidhan Speaker Gian Chand Gupta.
The Congress suffered a humiliating defeat in Ambala where its candidate Meena Nagpal could get just 13,797 votes, while remaining at fourth spot in the poll battle. Even the Haryana Democratic Front of former minister Nirmal Singh got more votes than Congress nominee here. Here, former Congress leader and former Union Minister Venod Sharma’s wife Shakti Rani Sharma has won the poll battle by securing over 37,000 votes. She defeated BJP’s Vandana Sharma by a margin of over 8,000 votes.
The win comes as a boost to the Venod Sharma-led Haryana Jan Chetna Party, which tasted its first win after the 2014 Haryana Assembly poll debacle. Shakti Rani Sharma said her victory was due to people’s “love and support”. “When one’s intent is clear, people back you,” she said.
In Sonipat, Congress’s Nikhil Madaan secured over 72,118 votes to become the first mayor of Sonipat. BJP’s Lalit Batra was voted 58,300 votes.
Hooda had even visited homes of prominent citizens to seek votes for Madaan apart from holding public meetings in his support.
Hooda-backed Pooja won the election for the post of Sampla municipal committee president by securing 6,668 votes, while BJP’s Sonu could get just 2,462 votes. In Uklana, Independent candidate Sushil Sahuwala defeated JJP’s Mahender Soni by a margin of 419 votes. In Rewari Municipal Council chief election, BJP’s Poonam Yadav secured almost 26,000 votes and defeated her nearest rival and independent candidate Upma Yadav by a margin of nearly 2,000 votes. Here Congress’s Vikram Yadav could get nearly 15,000 votes. An Independent candidate Kanwar Singh won the poll battle to become civic body chief of Dharuhera.
(WITH PTI INPUTS)
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