Chandigarh MC poll: To contain rebellion, BJP, Congress go slow on ticket allocation

There are around 1,000 contenders for 35 BJP tickets and 200 in the Congress for the Chandigarh MC poll which are scheduled for December 24
The Chandigarh MC polls are scheduled for December 24, but so far both BJP and the Congress have not declared their candidates for any of the 35 wards. (HT File Photo/ Representational image)
The Chandigarh MC polls are scheduled for December 24, but so far both BJP and the Congress have not declared their candidates for any of the 35 wards. (HT File Photo/ Representational image)
Published on Nov 30, 2021 03:13 AM IST
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By, Chandigarh

There are around 1,000 contenders for 35 BJP tickets and around 200 in the Congress for the MC elections. But they may have to wait till the last minute before both parties announce their final list of candidates.

The nomination for the MC polls started on November 27 and closes on December 4. But so far both the parties have not declared their candidates for any of the 35 wards. The MC polls are scheduled for December 24.

By announcing the candidatures at the last minute, the parties want to avert rebels filling nominations as Independents or jumping to another party’s wagon.

There is also a cat and mouse game going on between the two parties. On the seats which are considered close calls, the parties also want to first see the candidate that the other party puts up.

The concern of rebel candidates is a real possibility for both parties. In recent times, both parties have suffered from open factionalism.

Rebellion fears

During the last mayoral elections, the BJP had to face rebel candidates.

For the Congress, a major public dispute ensued between incumbent city leadership and former party city chief Pardeep Chhabra. Some of the Chhabra loyalists who left the Congress and joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) along with him are likely to face off against their former party colleagues in the MC polls.

“Between the last date of nomination, December 4, and the last date for withdrawal of nomination, December 9, most of the time and energy of local party leader is likely to be spent on firefighting internal discord and rebellions,” said a senior BJP leader.

For the ruling BJP, the challenge is bigger, having to placate its 20 sitting councillors. The Congress has five councillors in the outgoing MC house of 26 wards.

Underplaying inner party differences, Subhash Chawla, state Congress president, said, “It is routine for the parties to announce candidates close to the deadline for filing nomination papers. This has happened in the past elections too.”

Stating that there are around 1,000 contenders for the 35 BJP tickets, BJP city chief Arun Sood said, “We are a disciplined party and we don’t have any internal disputes over the ticket allotment. At most, one or two tickets can be sensitive, otherwise, there is no concern over the issue.”

On tenterhooks

For the final selection of the candidates, the Congress on Monday constituted a six-member State Election Committee comprising Chawla, former MP Pawan Kumar Bansal among others. The committee also has four special invitees.

“The committee will meet on December 1. From there on the finalisation of tickets will be done,” said Chawla.

The BJP is largely depending on the different rounds of surveys it is conducting in all the wards. The party’s election candidate selection committee will decide ticket allotment on the basis of these surveys, said Sood.

Notably, most of the existing Congress councillors have already started election campaigns either for themselves or their spouses without the party even announcing their candidature. This many party insiders say is their signal to party decision-makers of their resolve to contest the election.

Meanwhile, an incumbent BJP councillor, who didn’t want to be identified, said, “We are totally in the dark whether our candidature will be accepted or not. If it is accepted, then we will hardly have 10 days to campaign. This will be particularly tough as areas of our existing wards have been changed.”

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Friday, January 28, 2022