Chandigarh mayor Kuldeep Dhalor takes charge, flexes muscles on Day 1 - Hindustan Times
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Chandigarh mayor Kuldeep Dhalor takes charge, flexes muscles on Day 1

By, Chandigarh
Feb 29, 2024 05:13 AM IST

Soon after taking charge, Kuldeep Dhalor said municipal corporation’s budget for financial year 2024-25 will not be sent to the UT administration directly and will be discussed in the House first: “BJP’s imprint from the MC budget will be removed,” he said.

Aam Aadmi Party’s Kuldeep Kumar Dhalor, who clinched victory in the Chandigarh mayoral elections after a hard-fought legal battle that went up to the Supreme Court, assumed charge as the mayor on Wednesday.

AAP and Congress leaders greeting Kuldeep Kumar Dhalor after he took charge as the Chandigarh mayor on Wednesday. (Ravi Kumar/HT)
AAP and Congress leaders greeting Kuldeep Kumar Dhalor after he took charge as the Chandigarh mayor on Wednesday. (Ravi Kumar/HT)

Soon after taking charge, Dhalor said municipal corporation’s budget for financial year 2024-25 will not be sent to the UT administration directly and will be discussed in the House first: “BJP’s imprint from the MC budget will be removed,” he said.

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“Even though the budget meeting has been delayed by around one month, I will call the budget meeting after holding elections for the posts of senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor on March 4, for discussion and approval in the House. I will get the copy of the budget on Thursday and if former mayor or BJP councillors have made any recommendations in the budget (in terms of their political affiliations), these will be reconsidered and changed,” said Dhalor.

As per the MC Act, the civic body budget is to be passed within the first week of February.

The first meeting after the mayoral elections is called to elect five members of the Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) that discusses the budget and then tables it in the House for approval.

After the House’s nod, the budget is sent to the UT administration for the final nod. As the financial year starts from April 1, the budget should get UT’s go-ahead before March 31 to allow financial transactions under various heads.

Though the MC commissioner is empowered to allow spending under the revenue head to ensure that the routine works are not hampered, the commissioner can only do so after the House approves the budget.

With MC’s annual budget meeting getting delayed by a month due to the mayoral poll fiasco, the MC officials were planning to send it directly to the UT administration for approval so that important works can continue at least under the revenue head.

So far, no meeting has been called after the mayoral polls and F&CC members are yet to be elected. As such, the mayor is likely to call a budget meeting without discussion with F&CC in the wake of the already delayed procedure.

Red-carpet welcome for new mayor

Though no big AAP leaders, including Delhi chief minister and party chief Arvind Kejriwal, his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Mann and senior party leader Raghav Chadha, were present, Dhalor received a red-carpet welcome amid beats of dhol as he took over the mayor’s charge on Wednesday.

Besides councillors, local AAP and Congress leaders, including senior Congress leader Pawan Bansal; Chandigarh AAP co-in-charge Dr SS Ahluwalia, city Congress president HS Lucky and OSD to Punjab CM Rajbir Singh, greeted the new mayor.

“My priority will be to bring Chandigarh back to the top spot in terms of cleanliness. The legacy waste lying dumped at Dadumajra landfill will be bio-mined completely. Also, AAP will keep the promise of providing 20,000 litres of free water every month to city residents,” said Dhalor.

Congress, BJP field same contenders for two posts

In line with Punjab and Haryana high court’s directions, fresh nominations for the re-election of senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor were filed on Wednesday. Both Congress and BJP fielded the same contestants.

Congress councillors Gurpreet Singh Gabi and Nirmala Devi will contest for the senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor posts, respectively, as part of the agreement with AAP, its INDIA bloc partner. The BJP again fielded Kuljeet Sandhu and Rajinder Sharma for the two posts, respectively.

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