The list of nine nominated councillors to the municipal corporation House released on Thursday reflects the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) dominance in the civic body. The list is packed with BJP sympathisers and for the first time in 20 years includes no retired bureaucrat, engineer and educationist. This runs contrary to the guideline in Section 4 of Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1994, extended to Chandigarh that states nominated councillors should be experienced in civic body governance or be eminent personalities in their field of expertise.
The list of nine includes former BJP councillor Sat Parkash Aggarwal; former mayor Kamla Sharma; president of minority cell (BJP) Haji Mohammed Khurshid Ali; daughter of BJP Mahila Morcha general secretary Shipra Bansal; former secretary of BJP Sachin Kumar Lohtiya. Social worker Ajay Dutta, with strong roots in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Major General MS Kandal (retd), Dr Jyotsna Wig, who retired as head of anesthesia department at the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER). Chandigarh Beopar Mandal chairman Charanjiv Singh has also made it.
Three of the councillors are from Tandon’s camp, one from MP Kirron’s camp and one is affiliated with the RSS.
Former union minister Pawan Bansal has slammed the list. “It is the BJP that has decided the names and the UT administration has just approved it. It is for the first time that politics has been so blatant in the selection.”
Interestingly, this time the BJP has asked nominated councillors not to vote in the mayoral elections scheduled on January 11.
PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE NOT THAT ROSY
In the previous House, nominated councillors failed to live up to the residents’ expectations and faced flak for their purported tendency to indulge in politicking. The grant of voting right to them remained a flashpoint that the two major parties, the Congress and the BJP exploited for their political gains. The issue of voting rights to nominated councillors is now in court. The majority of such councillors did not actively participate in House meetings and preferred to keep mum when various issues related to the city’s development were taken up in the House.