With the Punjab and Haryana High Court quashing the Punjab government order to have the mayor’s seat reserved for a woman candidate in SAS Nagar, the group of independent councillors led by Kulwant Singh is once again in the limelight. Also, the role of two independent non-aligned councillors will now be crucial in electing the new mayor.
Businessman-turned-councillor Kulwant Singh forged a third front by bringing together 11 independent councillors who were elected in the corporation elections held in SAS Nagar in February this year.
Though earlier a Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader, he rebelled after being denied a ticket and contested the election as an independent.
After elections the SAD-BJP combine got 23 seats, Congress 14 and 13 seats went to independents. With SAD-BJP falling three seats short of the magical number 26 to elect the mayor, the independent councillors — 11 out of 13 — made it tougher for the combine by forging a group with Kulwant Singh as their leader.
Currently the group has 10 councillors as councillor Amteshwar Kaur has died. All these 10 councillors are the SAD rebels and they seem ready to shake hands with the Congress if the latter was ready to give the post of mayor to Kulwant Singh and keep the posts of deputy and senior deputy mayor.
Speaking to HT, Kulwant Singh said, “The high court decision is welcome and it shows that the law is same for everybody. Talks are on, but we are yet to decide the future course.”
Senior SAD leader Balwant Singh Ramoowalia said, “We respect the court’s decision but whether the state government will appeal against the same or not is yet to be decided. As a party, we have 23 members and getting another three is not difficult. The city will get Mayor from SAD.”
Meanwhile, the two nonaligned councilors, Manjit Singh Sethi and Harwinder Kaur Lang, are yet to show their cards. Sources though claimed that the two seem to be with the Kulwant group.