Over 4 months after MC polls, no leader of opposition yet
More than four months after the elections to the Jalandhar municipal corporation (MC), the Congress is yet to announce the name of the leader of the opposition. Among the four MCs - in Jalandhar, Amritsar, Ludhiana and Patiala - it is only in Jalandhar that the Congress has got a respectable number of seats winning 22 of the 58 seats; in the others, the party was almost routed.punjab Updated: Oct 31, 2012 23:22 IST
More than four months after the elections to the Jalandhar municipal corporation (MC), the Congress is yet to announce the name of the leader of the opposition.
Among the four MCs - in Jalandhar, Amritsar, Ludhiana and Patiala - it is only in Jalandhar that the Congress has got a respectable number of seats winning 22 of the 58 seats; in the others, the party was almost routed.
During his visit to Jalandhar in the last week of September, Punjab Congress affairs in-charge Gulchain Singh Charak had told the media that the leaders of opposition in the four MCs would be declared soon after AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi's visit to Punjab.
"More than a week has passed after that, but nothing has been cleared by the high command," a senior Congress leader said. "This tactic of late announcement of candidates had cost the party in the past," he said. "It is beyond my imagination why the party think-tank does not weigh the need of transparency and clarity on such issues."
Out of the 22 Congress councillors in the Jalandhar MC, a majority of them (18) wished to see a fresh face as the leader of the opposition while sources in the party said the high command had made up its mind about re-electing Jagdish Raja to the post. A report in this regard had been submitted by Amritsar Central MLA Om Parkash Soni, who was deputed by the state leadership to arrive at a consensus on the issue.
The 18 councillors announced a panel of four candidates - Shravan Grover, Bal Krishan, Balraj Thakur and Sushil Rinku - and declared that they would support any one of these four for the leader of opposition post.
"We want a fresh face as leader of opposition, which would help strengthen the party position in the city," said a councillor.
On September 25, Sunil Jyoti of Bharatiya Janata Party was declared mayor of the house, 108 days after the MC polls.
"The delay could lead to misunderstanding among the party cadre and is not a matter where the selection domain is very wide," a Congress leader said. "A choice is to be made from among the 22 councillors. There is no scope of any councillor not obeying the orders of the high command."
Meanwhile, District Congress Committee president Arun Walia said: "It is the prerogative of the Punjab party president Capt Amarinder Singh to announce the name of the leader of opposition.
All the party councillors are united and would abide by the decision taken by him. The delay can be attributed earlier to Rahul Gandhi's visit and now to the state leadership being busy in the Himachal Pardesh assembly elections. Hopefully, the picture will be clear soon."
Charak and Capt Amarinder could not be reached even after several attempts.