Race for mayoral seat hots up between SAD-BJP in Hoshiarpur

  • Harpreet Kaur, Hindustan Times, Hoshiarpur
  • Updated: Feb 27, 2015 20:36 IST

After the election frenzy, all eyes are now set on the mayoral post, race for which has already intensified.The Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) are likely to arrive at a political understanding that the former with 17 seats in its kitty will occupy the mayoral post while the mlatter, which won 10 seats, will be given the post of deputy mayor.

The two parties, however, are yet to convene a joint meeting to arrive at a consensus. This time, the SAD is in no mood to grant more space to the alliance partner than it deserves, sources said.

The party plans to field a strong candidate who can check BJP's 'free run' which it enjoyed in the last five-year term, but first of all it will have to put its house in order. The faction-ridden party has two candidates eying the post of deputy mayor. Market committee chairman Avtar Singh Johal, who is close to district SAD president Surinder Singh Bhulewal Rathan, and Avtar Singh Kapoor, who is close confidant of former Rajya Sabha member Varinder Singh Bajwa, are competing for the second top position.

Johal's very election to the MC was mired in controversy. An objection was raised by a political opponent that while holding one office of profit (market committee chairman), he could not contest for another but he was given the benefit of doubt due to ambiguous government rules.

For the BJP too, the race for the top post might not be as smooth as it appears to be. Although former minister Tikshan Sud has had an upper hand in the elections by getting most of his protégés win, the opposition group which owes allegiance to Rajya Sabha member Avinash Rai Khanna might create a hurdle.

The Congress, which has won from 17 wards, is in a wait-and-watch mode. District president and local MLA Sunder Sham Arora had hinted at political manoeuvring right after the election results were out.

“The game is not yet over,” he had remarked after declaration of results on Thursday.

Meanwhile, it has been learnt that Sud is keeping alternative action plans ready. At least four of the six Independent winners are in touch with him. It was earlier understood that his wife Rakesh, who was elected unopposed, was the first choice for mayoral post but sources reveal that he might push for former MC president and district BJP chief Shiv Sood. His opponents are also lining up arsenal to take him head on.

The BJP is also considering to have two posts of deputy mayor to be on equal footing with the SAD on the second rank also. Race for this post has also started.

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