Amid boycott by local BJP leaders and municipal council members, BJP councillor Jatinder Kalyan on Monday took charge as president of the civic body here.
According to available information, district BJP president Ashok Modgill had summoned all party councillors and office-bearers on Sunday evening after getting to know that Kalyan was going to take over as MC chief and directed them to absent themselves from the Monday function.
Justifying his step, Modgill said that Kalyan had taken the support of Congress councillors during election to the post, which was against the principles of the BJP.
Only two BJP councillors, including Kalyan, apart from three MC members owing allegiance to the SAD out of a total of 33 councillors turned up for the function, presided over by Batala SAD incharge Lakhbir Singh Lodhinangal.
Targeting the local BJP leadership for its absence from the function, Lodhinangal said that the BJP leaders should respect the Punjab and Haryana high court orders on the matter and support Kalyan during his functioning as MC chief.
Lodhinangal pointed out that development in the town had suffered as the MC president's post was vacant for the last one year.
It is pertinent to mention here that Jatinder Kalyan, a BJP councillor from ward number 20, was elected MC president on August 6 last year with the support of eight councillors of the BJP, seven of the SAD and six of the Congress.
However, even before the start of the poll process, the local administration had got pasted a notice outside the meeting hall that the meeting was postponed till further orders.
Agitated over the postponement of the meeting for the third consecutive time, Lodhinangal called all SAD councillors and eight BJP dissident MC members to the meeting hall and decided to carry on with the meeting.
Interestingly, local Congress MLA Ashwani Sekhri, who was also present at the council office along with six party councillors, joined Lodhinangal during the so-called election proceeding. Later, both Sekhri and Lodhinangal announced that Kalyan had been elected new MC chief.
On the other hand, Gurdaspur deputy commissioner Abhinav Trikha rejected that election on the ground that voting for the post of MC president was “null and void” as ADC (general) Baljeet Singh, who was supposed to chair the poll process, went on leave citing ill-health.
Kalyan moved the HC which ordered Punjab local bodies department to issue a notification in support of Jatinder Kalyan, which was complied with on April 18.