For the nine nominated councillors, who formed 25% of the House strength of 35, the past five years can be called an opportunity wasted. They raised several issues, but mostly pertaining to their own benefit, and failed to make a material difference to the ordinary resident’s life. Their major demand that of a ward development fund of Rs 40 lakh got the approval of the MC House in July 2012, but the UT administration later shot down the idea.
After this, most of them made news for their attempts to gain a foothold into the actual politics of parties. This ensured that both major parties, the BJP and the Congress, spent a lot of energy into wooing them ahead of mayoral elections that are held every year.
Their ‘switchover’ to the BJP after having supported the Congress’ choice of office-bearers for four years suddenly put the under the spotlight and also led to heated exchanges with senior Congress leaders in House meetings. Unfortunately, most did milk their status and demanded that their names be printed on invitation cards for the functions in their wards.
Such was their clout that they even interviewed the mayoral candidate thrice in four years and even managed to get representation for two of their ilk in the finance and contract panel.
Congress leaders attest to this attitude.
“A woman nominated councillor told me that she will settle for nothing less than the chaiperson’s post for the road committee,” said former mayor Ponam Sharma, adding that they even demanded their names be printed on invitation cards of launches and inaugurations in their ward. “The Congress did not do it and resisted their demands, but BJP under the mayor Arun Sood had given into their unreasonable demands,” Poonam claimed.
Version of councillors
Nominated councillor Surinder Bahga strongly contested all such claims.
“The Congress used us as their vote banks for mayoral polls over the past four years. Just for this last year, when we did not support them they have started leveling allegations. We then realised that Congress leaders are not working for the city, but for their personal agendas.”