A lawyer from the Congress, Poonam Sharma (52), will face-off against a social worker from the SAD-BJP combine, Heera Negi (50), to sit on the mayor’s chair for the city as the municipal corporation House votes in the mayoral polls on January 6.
The 35-member House will also elect a senior deputy mayor and a deputy mayor. The principal political formations in the fray — the SAD-BJP alliance and the Congress — announced their candidates for the three posts on Thursday. Nominations for these are to be filed on January 2 (Friday). The mayor’s post is reserved for women from the general category as this is the fourth year of the MC House.
The Congress has had its mayor for seven consecutive years now.
For senior deputy mayor, Congress has fielded Satish Kainth, while the SAD-BJP has fielded Rajesh Kumar. For the deputy mayor’s post, it will be SAD-BJP incumbent Davesh Moudgil against Gurbax Rawat of the Congress.
Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee president BB Bahl declared his party’s candidates at a press conference, while the BJP issued a press release.
In the 35-member House, the one with 18 votes will be elected the mayor. The BJP-SAD alliance has 14 members, the Congress has nine. The BSP has two councillors, there are nine nominated member and there is a lone Independent.
An even-keel contest
At this stage, there seems to be no clear favourite emerging with both sides claiming to have the edge.
BJP has its hopes up as three Congress councillors joinedit recently and with 14 members, it needs another 4 to clinch victory. The 14 votes include MP Kirron Kher’s vote, she being an ex-officio member of the House. Congress with nine votes, claims to have mustered the support of six nominated councillors, two BSP councillors and the lone Independent.
Role of independent councillors crucial; to meet tomorrow
The nine nominated councillors, who become crucial to calculations of both sides, have decided to meet on January 3. A nominated councillor, MP Kohli said, “We are holding a meeting on January 3 and will not support any party, but suitable candidates.”
Over the past three years, they have supported the Congress for the mayor’s post.
In January 2013, however, they have supported the BJP-SAD combine for the post of deputy and senior deputy mayor.
In 2012, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), with two members in the House, contested unsuccessfully for the mayor’s post, but for the past two years have been supporting the Congress for mayor’s post. By all accounts, the elections are likely to be interesting ones to witness.