With nearly two weeks left for the mayoral elections, both Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are yet to declare their candidates.
The Congress is expected to announce its candidates next week, while the BJP’s is expected to be out by December 20. The elections are scheduled for January 1.
From the Congress party, front runners are Mukesh Bassi, who will likely fight for the mayor’s post; Darshan Garg for the senior deputy mayor; and Gurbax Rawat for the post of deputy mayor.
On the other hand, the BJP has three contenders for the mayor’s post — Arun Sood, Davesh Moudgil and Saurabh Joshi, while Satish Kainth is likely the candidate for senior deputy mayor’s post and Hardeep Singh for the post of deputy mayor.
Chandigarh Congress chief Pardeep Chhabra said, “We will announce the candidates next week.”
The Congress party, which has been winning the mayor’s post for the past eight years in a row, will have a tough time as its three councillors have joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. The party is now left with just eight councillors.
The SAD-BJP combine requires only three more votes to bag the top post. At least 19 votes are required to win the mayor’s seat.
A senior Bharatiya Janata Party councillor said, “We just need three votes to win, but infighting in the party may thwart our chances. We will try best to reach at a consensus as wining the post is more important.”
The nine nominated councillors play a decisive role in electing the mayor, senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor. It was because of the support of nominated councillors that the Congress won the mayoral post last time despite having only eight elected councillors in the House against 16 of the SAD-BJP combine (including the vote of member of Parliament(MP) Kirron Kher).
With beginning of the fifth year of the House in 2016, the seat is open for general category this time.
In the past four years, nominated councillors have supported the Congress for mayor’s post, while the SAD-BJP candidates for deputy mayor and senior deputy mayor’s post.
In 2012, the Bahujan Samaj Party (with two members) had contested the mayor’s post unsuccessfully, but for the past two years, it has been supporting the Congress for the mayoral post.