All is not well in the SAD-BJP alliance, at least not in the Municipal Corporation Jalandhar House.
A day after Shiromani Akali Dal’s senior deputy mayor Kamaljit Singh Bhatia called mayor Sunil Jyoti of BJP a drug addict, 16 BJP councillors resigned on Monday as a mark of solidarity with the latter.
The BJP councillors submitted the resignation to the mayor in the morning and demanded strict action against Bhatia from the party high command.
The BJP councillors are furious over Bhatia’s terming the mayor as a ‘drug addict’ and ‘dacoit’ during the finance and contract committee (F&CC) meeting on Friday. The meeting had to be called-off abruptly and was rescheduled for Monday.
On Monday, before the meeting, the BJP councillors met at the mayor’s official residence and decided to resign in order to pressure the SAD to take action against Bhatia.
“I was just getting ready for the F&CC meeting when my party councillors called me. They conveyed to me that Bhatia’s remarks against me were tarnishing the image of the party and is also a violation of the coalition dharma. I have forwarded the resignation to district BJP chief Ramesh Sharma,” said Jyoti.
Bhatia and opposition Congress councillors are against the MCJ plan for mechanised sweeping of city’s main roads. The machine will be hired for `30 crore for a five-year contract from a firm. During the tiff with Jyoti, Bhatia alleged that the mayor and the commissioner were hand-in-glove and wanted to favour the firm.
Of the 20 BJP councillors (including mayor) in 60-member House, three BJP councillors—Ravi Mahendru, Ram Gopal Gupta and Kishan Kochar— didn’t resign. They said they didn’t receive any order from the high command to tender resignations.
Mayor Sunil Jyoti announced that he will neither attend his office nor use his official car till action is taken against Bhatia.
Bhatia dares mayor for dope test
Senior deputy mayor Kamaljit Singh Bhatia said, “I called the mayor a drug addict and I stand by it. Everybody can check it by visiting his cabin in his office which he uses only for smoking. I challenge him for a dope test if he says he is not an addict.”
He said he will talk to SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal on the issue, adding the proposal of hiring a sweeping machine for `6 crore a year is a step aimed at “looting” exchequer.
8 SAD councillors resign too, say they’re ashamed of Bhatia’s conduct
Eight Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) councillors, too, tendered their resignation to deputy mayor Arvinder Kaur Oberoi late evening on Monday as amrk of protest against Bhatia’s outburst against the mayor.
“From the last 9 years since he has become senior deputy Mayor, he has not done anything other than giving baseless statements. We are embarrassed at his conduct,” the common resignation letter submitted by the SAD councillors read.
Akali councilors who tendered their resignation are Amit Dhall, Jaspal Kaur Nagra, Davinder Kaur, Balvinder Kaur, Pritam Singh, Gurmej Kaur, Balbir Dhillon, Raminder Kaur Dhindsa.