Congress councillors created ruckus in the first House meeting of the newly elected mayor, Arun Sood, as they alleged foul play in counting of votes for elections to the finance and contracts committee (F&CC) held on Friday. The commotion started around noon and continued till 3pm.
The Congress members boycotted the meeting and demanded recounting of votes and also sealing of the ballot box. They even gave representations to municipal corporation commissioner B Purushartha, UT adviser Vijay Dev and home secretary Anurag Agarwal.
Taking note of the representation, the adviser marked an inquiry to the home secretary and asked him to get a detailed report from the MC commissioner. A legal opinion has also been sought.
In the five-member committee of the finance panel, members are elected through “preferential voting” — an election method that involves ranking candidates in order of preference. Six members were in the fray — two each from the Congress and the BJP and two nominated councillors.
In the first round, two BJP members—Sat Praka sh Aggarwal and Asha Jaswal — Congress’ Subhash Chawla and nominated councillor Aruna Goyal were elected. However, in the second round, nominated councillor Shagufta Parveen and Congress councillor Gurbax Rawat got four votes each.
Suspecting foul play, the Congress members said that ballot papers should be shown, but the mayor turned down their demand. Later, the mayor declared Shagufta the winner without completing the counting process. This added fuel to the fire as Congress members started raising slogans against Sood calling him “illegal mayor”. The agitators said they would not allow the House proceedings if their demand of recounting of votes was not met.
Earlier, Congress councillors questioned the mayor how he postponed the F&CC elections from January 22 to 29 against the Act. To this, the mayor said: “I have the power to postpone the elections and it was done as per the Act.”
Reacting to Sood’s statement, former mayor and Congress councillor Subhash Chawla said the postponement of elections was against the MC Act.
The mayor, however, said: “Congress members have the right to hold protest as they are in opposition after so many years. The protest is pre-planned.” He also adjourned the house for 10 minutes.
BJP vs Cong
Former mayor Pardeep Chhabra and BJP councillor Satish Kainth entered into a verbal duel when the latter poked a fun at the former saying: “You are abiding by the law as you are in opposition.” Chhabra lost cool and said: “Don’t forget that you were in the Congress for years and have joined the BJP last year.”
Ex-mayors sit on table
During the adjournment of the House meeting, former mayors and Congress leaders Pardeep Chhabra and Poonam Sharma degraded the House by sitting on a table with their shoes on. As they realised that their pictures were being clicked by photojournalists, they got down.
Taking a dig at the BJP over non-inclusion of Chandigarh in the first list of smart city, Congress members blew whistles and said: “We are only left with whistles.” Former mayor Poonam Sharma said: “Our MP Kirron Kher was busy pressing the Centre for Padma Bhushan to her husband, but forgot Chandigarh. Had she pushed the city’s case, we could have been in the list of smart city.”