In a big blow to the Chandigarh Congress, another Congress councillor and former senior deputy mayor Rana Kashmiri Devi (67) joined the BJP during the monthly House meeting on Friday.
She is the third Congress councillor to join the BJP in the past four months. In August, former mayor Raj Bala Malik and then in October, Sat Prakash Aggarwal had joined the BJP, reducing its tally to just nine councillors out of total 25. On the other hand, the number of BJP councillors has gone up to 14, including the vote of Member of Parliament Kirron Kher, who is an ex-officio member.
However, for the mayoral elections, a party needs 18 votes and the BJP is just shot of four.
Speaking to HT, Rana Kashmiri Devi said, “These days everyone is joining the BJP, so I also thought of joining it. Moreover, it was homecoming for me as a few years back, our family supported the BJP.”
A senior Congress leader told HT that former MP Pawan Bansal was losing grip on the councillors as well as party workers after his defeat in the Lok Sabha elections. No efforts were being made to revive the party and there was also reduction in the activities of the Congress in the city.
The leader further said all nine nominated councillors, who were with the Congress once, were not with it. In the mayoral elections held in January, four voted in the BJP’s favour and now we believe that they would again vote for the BJP.
Moreover, byelections to ward number 10 are due after the death of SAD-BJP councillor Malkiat Singh.
Cong expels Kashmiri Devi, her son
The Congress expelled Rana Kashmiri Devi and her son and former councillor Vijay Rana from the party.
Local Congress unit president BB Bahl confirmed the development and said they had ditched the party. “We don’t want such people (in the party) who cannot stand by it in tough times.”