With less than 10 days to go for mayoral elections, cracks have already begun to show in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the selection of the mayoral candidate.
The party, which hopes to sweep the polls this year, stands divided between two potential candidates - Asha Jaswal and Heera Negi.
Following a meeting with city MP Kirron Kher at the Punjab Bhawan in Sector 3 held on late Saturday evening, eight of the party’s 13 councillors accused Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher of not following the democratic secret ballot procedure in nominating the candidate.
Five councillors — Arun Sood, Asha Jaswal, Raj Bala Malik, Harjinder Kaur and Rana Kashmiri Devi — abstained from voting, stating that their suggestions on the party candidate had already been conveyed to BJP Chandigarh unit in-charge Aarti Mehra and Chandigarh BJP chief Sanjay Tandon.
Sources claimed said that there were now four groups in the city BJP unit — one backed by party president Sanjay Tandon, another by former MP Satya Pal Jain, the third by former union minister Harmohan Dhawan and the fourth of Kher’s supporters.
A councillor, who abstained from voting, said on condition of anonymity: “We told Kher that she is dividing the party and this is not acceptable. We told the procedure mandates that the party can either choose to nominate their candidate through a selection committee or the person can be nominated by a party president. The MP, who is also a voter in the house, can only give suggestions.”
Another snub to the MP is learnt to have come from former mayor Harjinder Kaur, who is believed to have told the MP that she would vote on the merit and “not on the basis of the secret ballot”.
Divided they will fall: Cong
Former Congress mayor Subhash Chawla said: “What will a party, which is not united over the choice of the candidate, do after they win the elections? They will surely cheat residents.”
Arun Sood said: “It is our internal matter and will sort it out soon.” MP Kirron Kher said: “I will not comment.”