In a move that can change equations in the upcoming SAS Nagar mayoral elections, Punjab deputy chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal held a meeting with leader of the Azad group Kulwant Singh in Delhi to win him over to the Akali side.
The elections to elect first mayor of the SAS Nagar municipal corporation will be held on August 28.
Though Kulwant remained non-committal on his returning to the Akali fold, he said he was considering the offer provided his concerns are taken care of. He has been demanding the removal of Balwant Singh Ramoowalia from the post of party’s district in-charge. The SAD-BJP combine has 23 members, Congress 14 and Kulwant’s Azad group has 10 members in the SAS Nagar MC House.
The elections were postponed on August 18 following a ruckus created by the SADBJP members as part of their planned strategy to buy time for “somehow managing” the required number of councillors by its side to win the mayoral elections.
Real estate developer Kulwant and other members of the Azad group left the SAD following their differences with Ramoowalia as the latter had refused party tickets to Kulwant and his loyalist in the run up to the SAS Nagar MC elections. Kulwant was the SAD candidate from Fatehgarh Sahib in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Though Ramoowalia has been claiming that the next mayor would be from the SADBJP combine, it will be interesting to see whether the Azad group will agree to accept the SAD-BJP mayor. The Congress, which has 15 votes, including the vote of MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu, is supporting the Azad group having 10 votes.
If this alliance remains intact, they will need the support of one independent councillor to win the mayoral polls.
However, the meeting between Sukhbir and Kulwant is set to change the dynamics of the elections. If Kulwant decides to return to the Akali fold, the SAD-BJP combine will have a clear majority.