Arun Sood(HT PHOTO)
Arun Sood(HT PHOTO)

Ex-mayor Arun Sood front runner for Chandigarh BJP chief’s post

The party is looking for a fresh face after Tandon completed three consecutive terms as the local BJP chief
By Vivek Gupta | Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON DEC 26, 2019 12:26 AM IST

Chandigarh: Outgoing Chandigarh Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Sanjay Tandon’s loyalist Arun Sood has emerged as the front runner to succeed him, after former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan held one-on-one consultations with core committee members, former party presidents and other senior leaders on Wednesday.

All key leaders, including Tandon, MP Kirron Kher and former MP Satya Pal Jain, were present during the meeting that was held at the party’s local office, Kamlam, in Sector 33.

The party is looking for a fresh face after Tandon completed three consecutive terms as the local BJP chief. His tenure largely remained successful, as the BJP won the parliamentary elections twice — in 2014 and 2019 — besides getting two-thirds majority in the municipal elections in 2016.

Other names that came up

Sources within the party said that while other names such as Rambir Bhatti, Satinder Singh and Davesh Moudgil also came up during the meeting, Sood — who is a former mayor — was the preferential candidate of a majority of leaders with whom Chouhan interacted.

The list that Kher shared with Chouhan also had Sood’s name, although Jain backed his protégé Moudgil — also a former mayor — for the post, said sources. Although Kher was interested in Satinder Singh becoming the next party president, Sood managed to convince her to back his candidature, said sources.

Later, Chouhan said that he has taken views of local leaders and would convey them to the central leadership. Sources said that he will submit the report to BJP national vice-president Vinay Prabhakar Sahasrabuddhe, who is overseeing the election process in Chandigarh and other states.

On when the party would announce the name, Dinesh Kumar, BJP organising secretary for Chandigarh and Punjab, said the decision is likely anytime next month. “It may happen even before the mayoral election scheduled on January 10,” he said.

Tussle not over yet

Sood, said a core committee member, is the front runner to hold the coveted post as he has organisation experience besides having a successful tenure as the mayor. Those in his favour included senior local leaders Prem Kaushik, Raghubir Lal Arora, Chander Shekhar, Asha Jaswal, Amit Rana, Haji Mohammad and mayor Rajesh Kalia.

However, for the Jain camp, the game is not over yet. A leader, who did not wish to be named, said Sood’s name was obvious as most of the core committee members are from the Tandon camp. However, the final decision rests with the party’s central leadership, who will get feedback from different channels, he said.

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