After re-appointing four ministers in the state cabinet from its quota in the next few days, the BJP is also likely to review the functioning of the two municipal corporations headed by the saffron party in Jalandhar and Amritsar cities, where the party’s performance in the Lok Sabha polls touched a historical low.
Highly-placed sources in the BJP said the party top brass was not amused with the functioning of two mayors — Sunil Jyoti in Jalandhar and Bakshi Ram Arora in Amritsar.
In both the cities, the SAD-BJP combine candidates virtually faced wrath of urban voters. In Jalandhar, SAD candidate Pawan Tinu lost in the city areas by more than 60,000 votes, whereas in Amritsar, the BJP candidate and union finance and defence minister Arun Jaitley lost in urban areas by more than one lakh votes.
In many wards in the two cities, the SAD-BJP combine candidates were placed on the third position after the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), causing major embarrassing to the ruling party.
The meeting of the BJP core committee in Chandigarh on Wednesday also discussed the performance of the heads of the two corporations minutely and one of the MLA from Jalandhar strongly objected to the free hand given by the high command to the two mayors without fixing their responsibilities.
“When it comes to election results, MLAs and other local leaders are held responsible whereas the mayor doesn’t listen or consult us when it comes to disbursement of money,” said an MLA in the meeting.
Sources close to BJP Punjab affairs in-charge Shanta Kumar revealed that the ssevenmember committee led by senior BJP leader Balramji Dass Tandon to look into the party’s debacle in Lok Sabha polls has also recommended reevaluation of the functioning of the civic bodies.
“Failure of the SAD-BJP government to redress the issues of the urban people, including imposition of property tax, was the main reason behind our rejection by voters but the civic bodies’ failure to provide solution to the basic problems of the public also added fuel to the fire,” stated a member of the Tandon committee.
In case of the Jalandhar mayor, his repeated “undue” confrontation with the SAD senior deputy mayor and even the BJP councillors and allegations of corruption in road repair work may go against him.
The mayor’s “egoistic” functioning and his inabilities to take party workers along are already under the scanner of the party top brass.
State BJP chief Kamal Sharma denied making a direct comment on the possibility of shifting mayors.
“Our party affairs in-charge has already clarified what the party is going to do in future. I need not to comment on this,” he said.
Within local units of the party as well, the demand to change the mayor is also increasing after party’s defeat in the elections.