Married into a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) parivar, Asha Jaswal was never a stranger to politics. Hailing from Palampur in Himachal Pradesh, Asha’s father RD Ram was in Central government service, but followed the RSS ideology. Sangh meetings and hectic activity during elections at the house was the norm.
A Master’s in Political Science, Asha could not make a mark in the House. She did not participate in any debate or raise any question. She did carry out development works like refurbishing the heritage Janj Ghar in Sector 23, getting street-lights installed and creating extra space for parking in the Sector 24 market.
An old hand with the BJP, Asha started her political innings by becoming a member of the BJP Samiti. She worked as national vice-president of the BJP Mahila Morcha when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in-charge of the Chandigarh BJP.
She recalls that she was asked to contest the first municipal corporation elections in Chandigarh, when Kamla Sharma had become mayor, but she did not take the plunge as her children were small.
Considered close to the camp of BJP local chief Sanjay Tandon, Asha was content endorsing the views of others in House meetings. She always supported Tandon and was considered to be in contention for the mayor’s post in 2015, but lost out to party councillor Hira Negi.
Residents feel she failed to get issues like emanating of foul smell from the N-choe, low water pressure at top floors resolved. Maintenance of green belts was ignored. Parking chaos in Sectors 23 and 36 is an issue that remains unresolved.
At home, Jaswal used to find herself as the odd one out during dining table discussions, with husband and father-in-law busy discussing legal terms — both advocates. To belong, Jaswal earned a law degree. When she finally contested, she was the Mahila Morcha president. Asha says the reputation of her father-in-law Thakur Maluk Singh and the Himachal vote bank in her ward, helped her win.
In 2014, she was embroiled in a controversy, when she tagged along the daughter of party officer-bearer Sunita Dhawan to a ten-day study tour to Port Blair, Chennai and Kolkata tour, claiming that she was her niece.
Tomorrow: Ward 5 Subhash Chawla