With elections to top three posts in Chandigarh municipal corporation round the corner, all eyes are once again on nine nominated and one Independent councillors, who are again set to play vital role in electing the mayor, senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor of the civic body.
Given their importance in tilting the balance of power in the civic body, the nominated councillors plan to hold a meeting on December 20 on the issue of support to either the Congress or SAD-BJP combine for mayoral election.
Given the fact that nominated councillors had voted en masse for the Congress and thus facilitated the victory of its candidate for the post of mayor in January 2012, prospective candidates from both sides of the political divide have begun meeting nominated councillors individually for support.
It is pertinent to mention here that the support extended to the Congress had attracted a lot of flak for nominated councillors from the BJP-SAD combine after the last mayoral elections.
In the 35-member MC House, the Congress has 12 councillors, BJP-SAD alliance 11, BSP 2 while one is an Independent. Congress camp also has the vote of local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal. The BJP also claims support of Independent councillor Gurcharan Dass Kala.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, nominated councillor MP Kohli said, "We will hold a meeting of all nominated councillors on December 20 to decide whether to support the SAD-BJP combine or the Congress. Our support will depend on candidates announced by the two parties."
Another nominated councilor, speaking on the condition of anonymity, claimed that three prospective candidates from Congress had already met him separately two days ago. Though he quoted them as saying that they would approach all nominated MC members individually for support, he asserted that the issue would be decided only on December 20.
Meanwhile, four contenders for the top post from the Congress include former mayors Pardeep Chhabra and Subhash Chawla, apart from Mukesh Bassi and Sat Prakash Aggarwal. In the BJP, names of Arun Sood, Saurabh Joshi, Davesh Moudgill and Rajesh Gupta Bittu are doing the rounds. Even the BSP with two councillors is all set to field its candidate.
In the past 16 years, Congress has held the post of mayor 11 times, as against five times by BJP-SAD combine. The elections to the posts of mayor, senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor are scheduled for January 1. Nominations would be filed on December 28 for all three posts.