Nearly six months after the elections for the municipal corporation were held, SAS Nagar finally got its first mayor in real estate baron Kulwant Singh, who was elected unopposed on Friday as the councillors belonging to the SAD-BJP combine abstained from the election, accepting defeat beforehand.
Amid tight security and under third eye surveillance, a total of 27 councillors - 10 of Azad group, 15 of the Congress and two independents - elected Kulwant as mayor by raising their hands at the Municipal Corporation Bhawan in Sector 68 here.
Also, Congress councillor Rishabh Jain was as senior deputy mayor and independent member Manjeet Singh Sethi as deputy mayor. SAS Nagar had elected 50 councillors on February 22, but with the death of Amteshwar Kaur, an Azad group member, on April 3, the number of councillors was reduced to 49.
After the SAD-BJP decided not to participate in the mayoral election, it was certain that Kulwant would be the mayor and the election was mere a formality. His name for the post of mayor was proposed by Congress councillor Kuljeet Singh Bedi.
The Azad group led by Kulwant comprising 10 councillors comprised all SAD rebels as they were denied tickets following their differences with SAD district incharge Balwant Singh Ramoowalia.
Mayor to assume charge on Monday
Kulwant would be assuming the office of mayor on Monday (August 31) after the notification regarding his elections would be issued.
Accepting defeat beforehand, opposition stays away
SAD-BJP alliance despite having 23 councillors failed to garner support of three more members to bag the mayoral seat and decided not to participate in the election on Friday.
Earlier on August 18 the elections were postponed following the ruckus created by SAD-BJP members as part of a planned strategy to buy time for "somehow managing" the required number of councillors by its side to win the first ever mayoral elections in SAS Nagar but that didn't happen.
"SAD-BJP combine councillors decided to boycott the mayoral elections. Kulwant Singh and Congress had virtually kidnapped the councillors in an undemocratic manner. We didn't want to be part of a setup showing scant regard for the democratic values," said Sukhwinder Singh Goldy, the BJP's SAS Nagar president.
Ramoowalia wanted Kulwant out: MLA Sidhu
Congress MLA from SAS Nagar Balbir Singh Sidhu accused SAD in-charge of SAS Nagar Balwant Singh Ramoowalia of trying to win over the Congress.
"To prevent Kulwant from becoming the mayor, Ramoowalia even tried to strike a deal with me. He said that he could make 13 councillors joining the Congress so that we could elect our own mayor," said MLA Sidhu. "It is the beginning of the end of Akali Dal," said Sidhu.
SAD-BJP combine: 23
Azad group: 10