One hundred and eight days after the municipal corporation polls, Sunil Kumar Jyoti of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was elected the fifth mayor of Jalandhar on Tuesday.
Kamaljit Singh Bhatia of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) retained the post of senior deputy mayor. For deputy mayor, SAD chose woman councillor Arvinder Kaur Oberoi.
Jyoti, a two-time councillor from ward number 5, is a close confidant of local MLA and chief parliamentary secretary KD Bhandari, who lobbied hard for him.
With Jyoti's election, Bhandari is likely to have an upper hand in the party than former local bodies minister and local MLA Manoranjan Kalia, who backed Ravi Mahendru for the mayor's post.
This is the second time that Mahendru has missed out: in 2007 too, he was the frontrunner, but ultimately Rakesh Rathour clinched the post as Amritsar member of Parliament Navjot Singh Sidhu and Himachal Pradesh chief minister PK Dhumal reportedly put pressure on the senior leadership of BJP.
On Tuesday, well before the official declaration of mayor, the expressions of the candidates and their mentors said it all: while Jyoti and Bhandari appeared upbeat, Mahendru and Kalia looked dejected.
Adopting "breakfast diplomacy" before the election, ruling alliance partners SAD and BJP invited all their councillors to a hotel, where industries minister Anil Joshi appealed to them to put up a united face and support whosoever is selected to the posts.
Carrying a sealed envelope containing the names of the persons selected to the key posts, local bodies minister Bhagat Chunni Lal, jails minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur, Bhandari, chief parliamentary secretary Pawan Kumar Tinu and MLAs Pargat Singh and Kalia reached the office of the municipal corporation.
In the presence of the divisional commissioner, the newly elected councillors took oath of office. Pargat then proposed the name of Jyoti as mayor and was seconded by Kalia.
Bhandari then proposed Bhatia for the post of senior deputy mayor while Kalia recommended Oberoi as deputy mayor and were seconded by Tinu and Pargat respectively.
The MC elections for 60 wards were held on June 10, in which the SAD-BJP combine attained majority by winning 31 seats - 20 won by the BJP and 11 by SAD. The partners had agreed that the mayor would be from BJP.
Party positions in new MC house
Total BJP SAD Congress PPP Independents
60 20 11 22 1 6