Soon after being elected the 21st mayor of Chandigarh, two-time Bharatiya Janata Party councillor Asha Kumari Jaswal said on Thursday that she was open to the idea of imposing new taxes provided it is for the development of the city.
Asha bagged 31 of the 35 votes, highest margin any mayoral candidate got in the civic body’s history, defeating Congress’ Gurbax Rawat who got only four votes.
“I will not mind imposing new taxes, if it is for the betterment of the city. I will have to take some harsh steps for the development of Chandigarh as my aim is to make the city more beautiful and greener. I am also in favour of imposing entry tax on commercial vehicles in the city as local residents support it,” Asha said after taking charge as mayor.
As per the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act (applicable in Chandigarh), the first mayoral tenure is reserved for a woman candidate from the general category.
CONG’S SHEELA, KAUR WITHDRAW THEIR CANDIDATURE
For the first time, BJP councillors Rajesh Gupta and Anil Dubey were elected unopposed as senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor after Congress’ Sheela Phool Singh and Ravinder Kaur withdrew their candidature before voting.
While Sheela Phool Singh had filed nomination for the post of senior deputy mayor, Ravinder Kaur was in the fray for the post of deputy mayor. Independent councillor Dalip Sharma decided not to vote for any candidate.
Earlier, local MP Kirron Kher, who is ex-officio member of the MC, was the first to cast her vote. All nine nominated councillors voted for Jaswal.
Jaswal, who enjoys Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) backing, is from city BJP chief Sanjay Tandon’s camp. While senior deputy mayor Rajesh Gupta is close to Tandon, deputy mayor Anil Dubey is from former MP Harmohan Dhawan’s camp. Hailing from Palampur in Himachal , Asha’s father was a central government employee and followed the RSS ideology. She started her political innings by becoming a BJP samiti member. She became vice-president of UT Mahila Morcha, when Narendra Modi was in-charge of the BJP’s Chandigarh unit. She contested the MC election in 2011 from ward 4 for the first time and defeated former Congress mayor Poonam Sharma.
WAS EMBROILED IN A TOUR ROW
In 2014, Asha was embroiled in a controversy when she took along the daughter of party officerbearer Sunita Dhawan for a 10-day study tour to Port Blair, Chennai and Kolkata, claiming that she was her niece. Dhawan is president of the BJP Mahila Morcha.