With change of guard in the political corridors, its going to be a tough challenge for the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP)-led Bathinda municipal corporation (MC).
Maintaining majority in the house will be one of the major challenges before mayor Balwant Rai Nath in the coming days. Of the total councillors, SAD has 22 seats in its kitty, while BJP has eight. Congress and independent councillors have 10 seats each.
However, after the verdict in favour of Congress, the political engineering has already started in the Congress camp, to claim two-third majority by gaining support from the independent councillors, besides poaching the required councillors from other parties. Even during the election campaigning, two of SAD and BJP councillors Sukhwinder Kaur and Priyanka Goyal had switched their loyalties to Congress in the presence of Congress MLA Manpreet Singh Badal.
Besides this, continuing the development work in the area under its jurisdiction and maintaining proper communication with the state government in raising Bathinda-related issues can be other tougher tasks for the SAD-run municipal corporation, which is left with three more years in its tenure.
In the past, SAD and Congress councillors had remained at loggerheads as the latter alleged the mayor of discrimination in carrying out development in their wards.
Moreover, the Congress councillors were cornered as they have not been made head of any committee formed by the mayor and his team in the past two years.
During the SAD-BJP tenure, Bathinda remained development-centric as the city’s municipal council was expanded to municipal corporation in 2010. Besides development of the urban areas, the focused remained on improving the basic facilities in trans-railway line areas.
Mayor Balwant Rai Nath said that he is expecting a cordial relation with the Congress government as every corporation requires its nod to initiate or get development work done.
“I have not discriminated with the Congress councillors, and had carried out development across Bathinda city, coming over the party lines,” Nath said.
When asked about Congress’ plan of claiming majority, Nath said, “I have no knowledge of it. I am the mayor elected with absolute majority.”
Meanwhile, the leader of opposition in the house and senior Congress councillor Jagroop Singh Gill said that the government has just taken over and they are yet to discuss the corporation-related issues with their leaders.
“It is a democratic set and we will follow the norms. In case there is no confidence motion against the mayor, legally in the near future, only then can Congress claim its majority in the house,” Gill said.