Amidst acrimonious scenes and a stormy start to the mayoral election process, with Bahajun Samaj Party councillor Jannat Jahan alleging that she was threatened to vote for the BJP, Congress candidate Poonam Sharma, (52), a first-time councillor from ward number 7, was elected the 21st city mayor on Tuesday, defeating Heera Negi (50) of the BJP by just two votes. In the 35-member House, 33 councillors voted in these mayoral elections with two nominated councillors Amrit Tewari and Sat Paul Bansal abstaining. Poonam polled 17 votes, with Heera getting 15. One vote was declared invalid.
Nominated councillor Babu Lal presided over the election for the mayor’s post, with UT deputy commissioner Mohammed Shayin conducting proceedings.
Infighting within the BJP, the role of two Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) councillors, one independent and seven nominated members, played a major role in these mayoral elections.
SOME CONSOLATION FOR THE BJP
BJP candidate Rajesh Gupta was elected the senior deputy mayor by defeating Congress candidate Satish Kainth by two votes. He too received 17 votes against 15 for Kainth. Gurbax Rawat of the Congress was elected the deputy mayor, getting 16 votes to 15 polled for BJP candidate and incumbent Davesh Moudgil. Two votes were declared invalid. The Congress managed to retain the seat of the mayor for 8th consecutive year.
BSP’S JAHAN FURIOUS, MP KIRRON APOLOGISES
T he House proceedings started on a rocky note with BSP councillor Jannat Jahan alleging that she had been verbally abused by senior BJP leader Harmohan Dhawan on Monday night and threatened her to vote for the BJP. A furious Jahan demanded action against the leader. “Mera kya ukhad lega... aisi ki taisi (No one can threaten me),” she said.
Reacting to this, city BJP MP Kirron Kher said she was sorry for Dhawan’s behaviour. However, Jahan was not satisfied and claimed that she would not vote for BJP candidates. At this, Kher objected claiming that Jahan’s vote be declared invalid, as councillors are not supposed to disclose the way they vote.
TENSE BATTLE, PARTIES TRADE CHARGES
As soon as the counting of votes began for the post of mayor, there was chaos in House. The Congress claimed that BJP MP Kirron Kher had folded her ballot paper in a triangular shape than folding it in a rectangular manner, in violation of rules. These polls were the first litmus test for the leader, after her election as the city MP. The BJP claimed that two votes being counted in favour of Poonam were invalid as the stamp had been put on the name and not on the box opposite the candidate’s name.
BJP councillors Saurabh Joshi and Arun Sood objected to the alleged wrong counting of votes. Following this, the presiding officer Lal and DC Shayin went out of the House for five minutes to seek legal opinion, came back and announced Poonam’s election as city mayor.
NEGI’S SUPPORTERS RAISE SLOGANS
Supporters of losing mayoral post candidate Heera Negi raised slogans against the BJP leadership. They said if Kirron Kher, Sanjay Tandon and Satya Pal Jain — had worked collectively, the party would have won.