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BJP clinches Ghaziabad mayor’s seat for the sixth time

BJP’s Asha Sharma defeated Congress’s Dolly Sharma by 1,63,647 votes

noida Updated: Dec 01, 2017 23:47 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times
Noida,Noida news,Ghaziabad news
Asha Sharma flashes the victory sign after being elected Ghaziabad mayor on Friday.(Sakib Ali/HT PHOTO)

Continuing the saffron sweep in the Up civic polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the mayoral seat in Ghaziabad, with its candidate Asha Shama trouncing her nearest rival, Congress’s Dolly Sharma, by a margin of 1,63,647 votes as per the provisional figures.

During 26 rounds of counting on Friday, Sharma polled 2,82,738 votes while Dolly Sharma could muster 1,19,091 votes. The third spot was bagged by Munni Chaudhary of the Bahujan Samaj Party, who bagged 77,001 votes. The other candidates such as Rashi Garg from Samajwadi Party, Dr Pragati Tyagi from Aam Aadmi Party and Kusum Raghav from Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) accounted for 40,613, 13,656 and 9,402 votes, respectively.

Sharma is a postgraduate in political science and has been a BJP worker for past 25 years. She has also been a former ‘mantri’ of the BJP’s women wing.

“The BJP symbol helped me secure a win and now we have local representation by BJP candidates, apart from the party being in power at the Centre and the state. My priorities would be making Ghaziabad a ‘Smart City’ and also work hard for effective and scientific disposal of garbage. A degree college for girls is needed and the city will be come under CCTV surveillance in a bid to ensure women’s security,” she added.

Thirteen candidates contested for the seat of Ghaziabad mayor, which was reserved for women. Sharma’s rivals congratulated her but presented a different point of view on the pattern of voting and the poll outcome.

“The voting was stereotypical this time as well. People just voted for the party. I participated in several TV debates but most candidates had no vision for the city. They were clueless about the issues and also about the pollution scenario. I went to areas where people are still deprived of clean drinking water, localities have no roads and drainage system,” Sharma, an MBA who contested on a Congress ticket, said.

Read I Ghaziabad civic polls: Spouses of alleged murderer, victim face off in Khoda

Kusum Singh of the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) said the party’s weak organisational structure led to her defeat.

“Unlike the BJP which has support of the Rastriya Swyamsevak Sangh, our party’s organisational structure was weak and we could not field candidates in the majority of seats,” Singh added.

The Congress workers, including their candidates, raised slogans and alleged that the EVMs were not working properly. The police and administrative officials had to intervene when the ruckus started in the returning officer’s hall on Friday evening.

“There was a complaint by a BJP candidate about a ward where the EVM was not functioning properly. Congress supporters latched on it and claimed there were issues with several EVMs. However, there was nothing to it as the EVMs were fine. If they have an issue with the voting, they must lodge a complaint with us. We will conduct an inquiry,” Rajesh Kumar Yadav, the returning officer, said.

Sharma won by a huge margin, sparking off wild celebrations in the saffron camp.

This is the sixth time in succession that a BJP candidate has won the mayor’s seat since the status of Ghaziabad was upgraded from municipal board to municipal-corporation in 1994.

Prior to Sharma, BJP’s Ashu Verma won the seat in February, 2016 in a by-election and trounced his Samajwadi Party rival Sudhan Rawat. The by-election was held after the death of former mayor Teluram Kamboj.

Kamboj defeated the same Samajwadi Party candidate and got elected as the mayor in July, 2012.

Earlier, the mayor’s seat was won by Dinesh Chand Garg. He retained the seat for a second time. Later it was BJP’s Damyanti Goel who won the seat. In 2012, Teluram Kamboj secured a win and finally Ashu Verma won the seat yet again.

First Published: Dec 01, 2017 23:47 IST