For the fifth time in a row, BJP won the Ghaziabad mayor’s seat with its candidate Ashu Verma being declared the winner on Tuesday afternoon.
The BJP has won the seat in succession since the post was created in 1995. This by-election was necessitated after former mayor Kamboj died of prolonged illness in last August. Before Kamboj, late Damyanti Goyal held the post and before her, BJP leader Dinesh Chand Garg retained the seat on two successive occasions.
In the counting of votes held at Govind Puram on Tuesday, Verma beat his nearest rivals, Sudhan Rawat from Samajwadi Party and Lal Man from the Indian National Congress.
Verma secured 1,15,879 votes of a total of 2,27,435 votes polled in the election held on February 14. Rawat came in second with 70,651 votes and Lal Man came in third with 23,317 votes. The polling in the city, which has a population of 11,77,276, was low at 18.54%.
Bhupendra Pinki from the organisation Hindu Raksha Dal stood as an Independent candidate and came in fourth with 10,571 votes. In the counting process that lasted 20 rounds, Verma maintained a lead over his 11 rivals till the 19th round when Rawat secured more votes than him. Verma again took the lead in the 20th round and was declared the winner.
The poll result has come as a major setback for SP candidate Rawat who had also lost the last mayoral election in 2012 when he was beaten by BJP candidate Teluram Kamboj.
In 2014, Rawat tried his luck and contested the Lok Sabha elections on an SP ticket from Ghaziabad, but stood fourth after General (retired) VK Singh won by a huge margin on a BJP ticket.
This time, the ruling SP yet again fielded Rawat, but he failed to secure a victory.
Speaking on his plans as mayor, Verma said, “My priority is to clean Ghaziabad, which will include undertaking works related to improving the traffic conditions, resolving sewer-related issues, providing clean drinking water and promoting a green environment,” Verma said.
He said since the Ghaziabad municipal corporation is facing a fund crunch, his priority will also be to get nearly Rs. 400 crore from the infrastructure development fund released from Lucknow for Ghaziabad.