After finding the mayor's room locked, a group of councillors, owing allegiance to MLA Simarjit Singh Bains, sat on the floor to conduct sangat darshan (public meeting) at municipal corporation's (MC) Zone-C office on Gill Road on Monday.
The councillors accused mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria of having deliberately instructed the officials concerned to lock the room so as to hamper the sangat darshan scheduled by this group of councillors.
As the councillors came to conduct the sangat darshan on Monday, they found the room locked, following which councillors, including Parminder Singh Soma, Ranjit Singh Ubhi, Swarandeep Singh Chahal and others conducted the meeting in the open.
The councillors claimed to have been conducting the sangat darshan for more than 10 years in the same room. They also claimed that it was the common room for councillors, too, and the mayor had no right to lock the room.
Ward number 68 councillor Parminder Singh Soma alleged that the mayor had instructed to lock the room so that no councillor belonging to Bains group could conduct a sangat darshan here. "This room does not belong to the mayor. It was locked just to stop us from conducting the public meeting. But, we will continue the sangat darshan every Monday," he said.
The councillors also accused the state government of stopping them from conducting sangat darshans for public.
Ward number 67 councillor Ranjit Singh Ubhi said, "We will raise the matter in the House meeting and also demand a special room for councillors in each zone of MC."
It is noteworthy that there is no love lost between MLA Bains and the city mayor as the former happens to be a Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) rebel, while the latter having contested and won MC elections on SAD ticket is a die-hard party loyalist. Thus, the recent trumpet blown by Bains by contesting parliamentary elections independently has not gone down well with the SAD.
MLA Simarjit Singh Bains said, "It is a condemnable step of the mayor to lock the room as it is not only his room. When I was a councillor, sangat darshan was conducted in the same room. Earlier former mayor had also tried to stop us from conducting the sangat darshan. However, we will continue with the meetings to serve public."
Denying the allegations, mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria claimed that, "Earlier it was councillors' room, but later former mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura converted it into the mayor's room. Now, it is the mayor's room and not meant for the councillors. Their allegations are baseless."