The Congress is likely to sweep the Chandigarh mayoral elections scheduled for January 1, as all the nine nominated councillors have decided to support the party's candidates.
Nominated councillor MP Kohli cited the “humiliation” they faced at the hands of the BJP for the decision. “They (BJP councillors) do not deserve any support. In every House meeting, we are humiliated. All nine of us will be supporting Congress candidates and will now meet on December 22 for the selections of candidates,” Kohli said.
In the Chandigarh municipal corporation's past 17-year history, Congress councillors have been at the MC's top chair 12 times, while the BJP and SAD have won the mayoral elections five times. At present, there are strong Congress contenders for the post: two-time deputy mayor Satish Kainth (Ward 20) and Harphool Chand Kalyan (Ward 13). Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee will finalise the mayoral election candidates in the presence of All-India Congress Committee secretary and Chandigarh in-charge Harish Chaudhary, who will be the observer. The last date of filing nominations is December 28.
A nominated councillor, who did not wish to be named, said, “All nine of us could have voted for either of the parties. But, now, we have decided to vote for Congress candidates only.”
At present, of the 36 votes to be counted for the mayor's post, 13 are of the Congress, including the vote of member of Parliament Pawan Kumar Bansal. And, with the support of the nominated councillors, the party's tally will reach 22. The BJP, meanwhile, has 11 votes; it also claims to have the vote of independent candidate Gurcharan Dass Kala.
The mayor's election
Under the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, applicable in Chandigarh, the party which has a majority in the House is given a chance to make its mayor. Though the House is elected for five years, mayoral elections take place in the beginning of every year. This will be the election for the third mayor of the present MC House. While Subhash Chawla is the present mayor, Raj Bala Malik was his predecessor. Here is the break-up for the five years:
First term Woman candidate from general category
Second term General category
Third term Candidate from SC category
Fourth term Woman candidate from general category
Fifth term General category
Here is the break-up of the number of councillors in the MC House
(NOTE: The member of Parliament, being the ex-officio member of the House, also has one vote.)