Councillor’s report card: Party or oppn, Satinder Singh doesn’t mince words
Satinder Singh (47), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) councillor from ward 18, has not only been at loggerheads with his opponents but also with his own leadership from time to time.
A Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activist since 1991, Satinder, a devout Sikh, was present in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992, the day the Babri Masjid demolished. He was 24.
“I am a Hindustani. The Babri Masjid was a symbol of invasion on our land,” the district courts’ lawyer says.
He got party ticket for the first time from ward 18 comprising Sectors 27, 28 and 30 in 2011 and defeated Congress’ Davinder Singh Babla.
“Neither I nor any of my family member will contest the election this time. But I want a friend of mine to contest,” Satinder says. He carries the image of a crusader. Even his rivals describe him as an honest and good-hearted human being.
Some believe that he does not mind taking up the cudgels against his own party when it comes to public interest.
He has filed a public interest ligation (PIL) in the Punjab and Haryana high court challenging the voting rights of nominated councillors in the MC House, raised his voice against study tours of councillors (some BJP members were also part of these) besides taking up the toilet advertising and Uppal Housing Society scams.
Whether his petition would hurt the BJP interests as it is going to play a role in appointing nominated councillors, he says, “So what? Tandon (Sanjay), Jain (Satya Pal) and Dhawan (Harmohan) had submitted a memorandum to the UT administrator against voting rights of nominated councillors.”
He had also confronted BJP mayor Arun Sood on a number of issues and did not invite him to the inauguration ceremony of e-sampark centre at Sector 27 community centre on October 20.
He had also questioned the use of “Your Excellency” while addressing the governor. “It is a colonial mindset,” he says.
About raising issues in the House, the councillor says he asked over 20 questions concerning his ward.
“There are gymnasiums in all community centres, 90 % parks have lighting, tubewells in Sectors 28 and 30 have solved the low water pressure issue. An e-sampark centre has been constructed in the Sector 27 community centre, voltage fluctuation problem in Sectors 27, 28 and 30 has been solved and 12 high mast lights have come up in parks,” he says.
“For the first time, we introduced grassy paver blocks and got permission for constructing bathrooms and toilets in 50-year-old type-10 houses in Sector 27. Toilets were on the first floor in these houses.”
Residents in Sector 30 complain that he had promised to regularise their tenements, but could not.
“There are 50,000 tenements in Chandigarh. The BJP in its manifesto promised to regularise them. It is a pan-city issue and is not about my ward alone,” he replies.
Residents of Sectors 27 and 28 complain about dirty back lanes in their localities. They say they have been maintaining them on their own with little help from the councillor or the civic body.
The opposition has also raised poor condition of V-6 roads. “V-6 roads are deteriorating as people have been washing their cars. The roads need to be repaired,” says Satinder.
Satinder has been actively associated with the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the youth wing of the BJP, since 1996. He remained general secretary of the BJP’s Chandigarh unit from 2009 to 2012. In 2010, he was part of the RSS group that manhandled Kashmiri separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq at Kisan Bhawan. The case is still pending in court.
“He is a good man but is hardly available to residents. Last time, he promised regularisation of Sector 30 tenements but failed. V-6 roads are in a poor shape in Sector 27D, back lanes are dirty. He started the cleanliness drive. Now, he is running away from contesting the polls.”
- Davinder Singh Babla, Congress
Tomorrow: Ward 19 Naresh Kumar