The first House meeting of the newly-elected municipal corporation on Tuesday saw fissures to the fore among the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with the party failing to get all five members elected to the Finance and Contract committee (F&CC), in spite of having 30 members on its side in the 35-member House. The F&CC is elected every year and has powers to deal with financial matters up to Rs 35 lakh.
There was drama in store as well with the losing party candidate, former senior deputy mayor Heera Negi, accusing mayor Asha Kumari Jaswal of playing ‘dirty politics’ and blaming her for the shock defeat. During voting through secret ballot, Heera had lost out to Congress’ Devinder Singh Babla by two votes. The new F&CC comprises Arun Sood, Kanwar Rana, and Jagtar Jagga from the BJP. Babla from the Congress and nominated councillor Ajay Dutta. All of them got six votes.
TWO CROSS VOTES
The shock defeat of Heera has the obvious implication that councillors from the BJP did not list her as their first choice, but voted for Babla instead. It was precisely to prevent such a scenario that the BJP held a pre-House meeting on January 23 (Monday). At the meeting, it was decided that the six BJP councillors who were to vote for Negi were Mahesh Inder Singh Sidhu, Raj Bala Malik, Heera Negi, Rajesh Gupta, Farmila and Chandrawati Shukla.
In her public lashing out at the mayor, Negi said, “I requested you to change the names of councillors who were to vote for me, but you paid no heed, as your intentions were not aboveboard.”
She went on to add, “It is because of you (mayor Asha Jaswal) that the I lost the mayor’s elections in 2005. Now, you have defeated me in spite of the BJP’s majority. I need an answer.”
Following this outburst, nominated councillor Sat Parkash Aggarwal spoke in support of Negi. “You should have changed the names of councillors,” he told the mayor.
“We feel sorry about your (Heera’s) defeat. However, we have to accept the mandate. If you have any objections, you are free to raise them,” said mayor Asha after the House adjourned for lunch.
DEATH OF A 2-YEAR-OLD GIRL IN SECTOR 49 RAISED IN HOUSE
At the meeting, the councillors took up the issue of the death of two-year-old girl, who died in a pond at Dinosaur Park in Sector 49. BJP councillor Davesh Moudgil said, “We need an investigation and officers whose negligence led to the incident must be punished.”
“It is the third death in my ward where people have fallen into water bodies, but the MC is yet to take any action. All water bodies must be converted into parks,” said Heera, the area councillor.
Congress councillor Gurbax Rawat said most water bodies and fountains are crying for attention.