After BJP's Kirron Kher pulled off a record margin victory in the Chandigarh Lok Sabha polls last year, the city's BJP unit has been mired in infighting and lack of cohesion. That the bad blood runs deep among its front-ranking leaders was amply evident in the recent Mayoral polls in which the saffron party suffered the humiliation of losing the mayor's post to the opposition Congress despite having more elected councilors in the MC House. Excerpts:
What led to the BJP’s defeat in the mayoral polls?
We got all votes within the party. However, we were not able to get the votes of the nominated councillors and councillors from the BSP. The reasons for this failure need to be investigated and tabulated.
You, being the city party president, are being blamed for the defeat and accused of not giving your best in campaigning. Do you accept this?
Anybody blaming me would do this for reasons bestknown to them. These are political games. My absence on the day of the filing of nominations was due to my appointment with the PM and the president. I met all nominated councillors, except Amrit Tewari. Senior leader Satya Pal Jain was with me. No senior leader visited nominated councillors.
The differences between you and party MP Kirron Kher are being talked about.
I have no problem in working with any party leader. In fact, I had requested Kher to campaign during the MC elections in 2011. I have cordial relations with her family.
Why were you unable to get the support of the nominated and the BSP councillors?
A controversy erupted just before polling, which changed things. There could be an ulterior motive of the beneficiaries, or someone else, in getting this controversy to erupt at the time it did.
You have been the local unit president for almost two terms, but have not succeeded in getting the mayor's seat.
I cannot express the pain and anguish I have felt. We got three councillors from the Congress and strengthened the party, yet could not win. I would have loved to see the mayor’s seat being conquered during my term.
Is it true that Kirron and you did not agree on mayor candidate?
This allegation is baseless. This was a decision of the party high command and as a disciplined soldier of the party I campaigned for all.
How do you see your tenure, which ends in December?
We won the MP election and panchayat samiti elections. After 12 years, we got the seat of senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor in 2014. This year, we have won the post of senior deputy mayor.