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HindustanTimes Sat,25 Oct 2014

Mayor's house now unofficial residence of BJP

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Jalandhar, November 13, 2013
First Published: 23:14 IST(13/11/2013) | Last Updated: 23:15 IST(13/11/2013)

Visit the mayor you'll be excused for thinking you have knocked at the wrong door. The official residence of the mayor at Model Town here is turning into the local official address of his party.

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In the absence of any Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) office in the city, all visiting political bigwigs of the saffron organisation prefer to run the organisation's affairs from this venue. Mayor Sunil Jyoti lives in another house at Vij Nagar. On last Friday, the party's core committee met at his official residence; and on Sunday (November 10), state BJP president Kamal Sharma addressed media there after his face-to-face conversation with his Facebook followers at a local hotel.

A tea party for the journalists and the BJP workers followed the media interaction at the mayor's house, while he was at Dehradun on personal business. From the hotel, the media were asked to reach his house for official briefing.

The Congress has objected to the BJP's using the mayor's official house for party purposes. "The mayor is a constitutional position and his official residence should not be used for party activities. He is the mayor of the city, not any particular party. The BJP has a history of violating rule, as earlier, it ran party affairs from a temple," said Congress district (urban) president Arun Kumar Walia.

The misuse of the mayor's official residence would dent the impartial image of city's first resident, Walia added. BJP leaders Anurag Thakur, Shanta Kumar, Balramji Dass Tondon, Kamal Sharma, Tarun Chugh, all have used the mayor's official house for party purposes during their visits to the city. When state party president Kamal Sharma was there, extensive arrangements were made for his comfortable night stay, inside sources have said.

The BJP had to move out of its last local office at Sheetla Mata temple after the Congress' complaint to the election commissioner. On October 26, Kamal Sharma inaugurated the party's new local office at Surya Enclave but the construction could not start because of cost and the shortage of funds. The party has given its madal (zone) presidents fundraising targets and even handed them donation slips for quick collection.

District BJP president Subhash Sood denied the party was misusing mayor's house during the official resident's absence. "We had informed the mayor about the proposed press briefing scheduled there. At that time, Circuit House was not free, and we conducted only those meetings in the mayor's house where he was among the invitees," he added.

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