Arun Sood is Chandigarh BJP president
A former mayor, Sood, 48, replaced Sanjay Tandon, who served three consecutive terms over 10 yearsUpdated: Jan 18, 2020 00:54 IST
Former mayor Arun Sood, the sole candidate in the fray for the post of Chandigarh Bharatiya Janata Party president, on Friday took over the reins of the local unit.
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar made the official announcement in the presence of outgoing president Sanjay Tandon, MP Kirron Kher and BJP national general secretary Y Satya Kumar at the party office, Kamalam, in Sector 33.
Sood, 48, replaced Tandon, who served as the party president for three consecutive terms over 10 years.
After backing from both Kher and Tandon groups in December last year, and with the party high command giving the nod to his candidature earlier this week, Sood’s elevation to the president’s post was a foregone conclusion. On Thursday, he had filed his nomination with 39 of the 41 election council members supporting his candidature.
Khattar, announcing Sood’s appointment, said: “It is very satisfying that the party’s city unit has elected both the mayor (Raj Bala Malik) and now the president with consensus.” In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and previous mayoral elections, groupism had plagued the party.
Only former mayor Davesh Moudgil, himself a contender for the president’s post and a protegee of former MP Satya Pal Jain, hadn’t proposed Sood’s name. Both Jain and Moudgil were conspicuous by their absence at the Friday event.
Meanwhile, thanking the party workers for their support to “my efforts to strengthen the party”, Tandon asked them to give “double” the support to the new president.
‘Eyes on 2021 MC elections’
Talking about his priorities and challenges, Sood told HT: “Winning the MC elections in 2021 is one of the major challenges and my top priority. In the last elections, the party won by a thumping majority, and this time around our endeavour will be to better our performance and maintain our gains.”
Meanwhile, Sood will continue as a councillor. “People of my ward have given me the responsibility, which I intend to keep during the rest of the tenure of the current House,” he said.
Stating that groupism in the party will not be tolerated, Sood said: “There will be only one group – the party. Internal democracy is the strength of the BJP, but any anti-party activity will not be tolerated. Discipline will be enforced to strengthen the party.”
Sood, known for his aggressive working style, was confident that he will adapt to his new role in the party. “I started my career in politics as a student leader in the ABVP. Aggression is key to the working of a student leader. But, with my changing role in the party — from student leader to general secretary to councillor to mayor — I have made the right transition in my working style as per the demands of the role, and have got delivered results.”
Ruling out any immediate reshuffle of functionaries in the party, Sood said any decision will be taken only after consulting party leaders and the high command.
‘Need democracy in city’s governance’
Stating that the role of people’s representatives is inadequate in the city’s decision-making process, which is dominated by officials, Sood said: “There is a need to strengthen democracy in the city’s governance.”
“In my eight-year experience as the mayor and councillor, I have realised there is inadequate participation of people’s representatives in the administrative decision-making. Implementation of decisions is the officials’ duty. But, a greater role of elected representatives will help improve decisions for public welfare, as they have a better understanding of people’s needs,” he said.
Talking on civic issues, Sood said the priority should be to ease traffic congestion, particularly at Tribune Chowk. “For this, all options and alternatives should be explored. If other alternatives don’t work, we should go ahead with the flyover.”