The local municipal corporation on Thursday got Upinder Walia as its first mayor. Of the total 20 votes, Walia got 12 and defeated her opponent Krishan Kumar Lamba by a margin of four votes. Lamba managed to get eight votes.
The election witnessed infighting within the Congress as despite having absolute majority, the party failed to reach a consensus on the mayor's name. The BJP and INLD councillors voted for either contender, both of whom belonged to Congress.
An elated Upinder Walia said she feels proud that a woman has been elected the first mayor of Panchkula. She gave credit of her success to her supporters but did not attribute it to her affiliation with Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
Both the contenders for the mayor's post, Walia and Lamba, though claimed that they were contesting as Independent candidates, actually belonged to the Congress.
The infighting in the Congress again came to the fore when a House having 14 party councillors failed to reach a consensus on the mayor and the ballot decided the outcome.
Hooda vs Selja?
It was more of a battle between those affiliated with Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and supporters of union minister Kumari Selja.
While Upinder Walia has a strong affiliation with Hooda, Lamba belongs to the Selja group. Walia's name was proposed by Omwati Punia, another Congress councillor, who was also said to be in the fray for the mayor's post. It was Lily Bawa, affiliated with Kumari Selja, who proposed Lamba's name.
Cross-voting during the mayoral poll was evident as all 20 councillors, including three each of BJP and INLD, cast vote. As one of the contender secured 12 votes and the other one 8, it is evident that both the INLD and BJP voted for either of the contenders, both of whom belonged to the Congress.