In a major setback to the BJP, Congress candidate Poonam Sharma on Monday won the municipal corporation by-poll from ward number 7 defeating the BSP candidate, Seema Yadav, by 571 votes.
BJP candidate Bindu Rana, the daughter-in-law of the deceased BJP councillor Laxmi Devi, ended up at the third position.
The seat was lying vacant since the death of Laxmi Devi in May this year. Laxmi had won the seat by 1,285 votes against the Congress candidate, Neeru Mathur, who had got 2,655 votes in the MC elections held in December last year.
In the House of 26 councillors, the Congress now has 12 councillors, while the BJP has 11 members. The BSP has two councillors and one councillor is independent.
The elections for this ward were held on September 15 and the results were declared on Monday at Government College of Education in Sector 20.
Soon after the result was declared, the winning Congress candidate was greeted by her supporters with the dhol and bandwalas.
Sharma, incidentally, had lost the MC elections held in December from ward number 4.
An advocate by profession, Sharma is also the district president of Chandiagrh Congress.
"I can assure you that whatever promises I have made during my campaign, I will fulfill them all. I will leave no stone unturned in serving the people of the area," said Sharma.
Sharma's victory was especially remarkable since she was an outsider pitted against the two locals.
Both the BJP and BSP candidates belong to Maloya, while Sharma is a resident of Chandigarh.
BB Bahl, president, Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee, said, "The day we announced our candidate, we were sure to win the election."
The ward comprises Maloya village, Maloya colony and west of Sector 39.
The civic poll held in December had yielded a hung house with no party getting an absolute majority.
Pawan Kumar Bansal, Union minister
It is gratifying to see that the people have full confidence in the Congress. All the party workers worked relentlessly. The elections were held just a day after the diesel price was hiked, but the people know that the Central government is working in their interest.
Sanjay Tandon, Chandigarh BJP chief
We accept the mandate of the people. We will analyse what went wrong, as we were not expecting this result. We will continue serving the people of the area.
Hafiz Anwar-Ul-Haq, Local BSP president
We never expected this result, as we were sure to win. Yet we have performed better. We lost to the Congress by only 571 votes.
Out of total 14,816 votes, 10,606 votes were polled Congress: 4,044
Independent - 136