BARMER: In a curious case, rivals Congress and BJP are celebrating the win of an Independent candidate in the bypolls to a municipal ward in Rajasthan’s Barmer district. The two parties have also staked claim to the Independent candidate, Ravi Singh, announcing that he has promised to support them!
Singh, meanwhile, claims that he does not “belong to any party” and will only “represent his people in the board”.
The 40-member Barmer municipal corporation is led by Congress, which has 17 elected members in the House. Two Congress-supported candidates and two of the five independents had extended support to the Congress to help it form the board by reaching the magic figure of 21.
The BJP has 16 ward councillors.
The byelection to ward number 18 was necessitated following the death of sitting councillor Dileep Singh Gogade in a road accident. The byelection was held on March 16.
Singh was the only one to filed nomination for the seat. Both congress and BJP claim that they didn’t contest as Singh had assured to support them after winning the bypoll.
The returning officer, on March 18, declared Singh as elected unopposed. He was handed over the winner’s certificate at the sub-divisional office, where leaders from both the Congress and the BJP had congregated. It was a peculiar scene as both the parties celebrated Singh’s win and welcomed him with garlands.
After leaving the sub-divisional office, Singh was taken to Bramer MLA, Congress’s Mevram Jain’s, office. Jain welcomed Singh and announced that he will support Congress. Several other Congress leaders, including civic body chairperson Lunkaran Bothra, were present.
Jain also claimed that as Singh had promised him to support Congress, the party did not field any candidate.
The next day, Barmer Urban Improvement Trust (UIT) chairperson and state BJP spokesperson Priyanka Choudhary welcomed Singh at her officer and also claimed that he will support BJP.
Choudhary too claimed that Singh was a BJP-supported candidate and that is why the party did not field any candidate on its symbol.
Singh, meanwhile, seems to have had the last laugh. “I am thankful to both parties for welcoming me. But I do not belonged to any party as public elected me as an Independent and I will represent my people in the board,” he said.