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HT Spotlight | Most-clicked ward-9 councillor of UT fails to click with residents

The social-media savvy councillor from ward number 9, Gurbax Singh Rawat, has remained a media-darling due to her glamour quotient but has failed to impress the residents of her ward.

punjab Updated: Oct 14, 2016 12:47 IST
Shailee Dogra
Shailee Dogra
Hindustan Times
ward-9 councillor,Gurbax Singh Rawat,MC House
A poorly maintained park in Sector 40, Chandigarh.(Anil Dayal/HT Photo)

The social-media savvy councillor from ward number 9, Gurbax Singh Rawat, has remained a media-darling due to her glamour quotient but has failed to impress the residents of her ward.

Many complain that Rawat, who has even created a Facebook page dedicated to her ward, is not readily accessible to the residents. Rawat, however, claims that she has been holding regular meetings and has spent the entire ward development fund allotted to her.

Gurbax Rawat, who is the wife of Uttarakhand Congress head Birender Rawat, became the first choice for the ward (reserved for women) in 2011, in view of the large number Uttarakhand natives residing in the area.

Rawat, who is often branded as the “glam doll” and is one of the most clicked councilors, believes that actions speak louder than words. A soft-spoken person otherwise, Rawat has been making the right noises when it comes to the development works in her ward. When the BJP rejected her agenda pertaining to a dispensary in Sector 39, she sat on a dharna in the MC House.

Residents of her ward, comprising Sector 39 and Sector 40, though feel that she has failed to redress their problems. Many say that her promises fell flat as they still face water and parking woes. They say that even the road re-carpeting work in Sector 40 came only at the fag end of her tenure.

Even though Rawat takes credit for re-opening the post office in Sector 40, which had remained closed for over a decade, the post office was actually re-opened on the directions of Punjab and Haryana high court while disposing of a public interest litigation filed by the welfare association.

Rawat, who has also served as a deputy mayor, is believed to be a close-aide of former Union minister and MP Pawan Kumar Bansal and her loyalty to the party has paid off well.

In 2011, Rawat was among the candidates who won with the lowest margin. The SAD-BJP candidate from ward 9, Inderjeet Kaur Kang, wife of Jagjit Singh Kang, gave her a tough fight and had lost by only 148 votes.

An active member of the “Garhwal Sabha”, Rawat is often accused of favouring natives of Uttrakhand and getting their works done on priority.

She boasts of developing a number of green belts in her ward but residents say that these have only reduced the playing space meant for children, who can now be seen playing on the roads. Even her achievement of installing high-mast lights was marred due to the non-working lights and poor maintenance. Residents also complain that heaps of garbage comprising horticulture waste and malba can be seen stacked in different parts of the ward.

Rawat, was among those councillors who had to take a cut in the monthly honorarium for taking her family members on a study tour to Chennai, Kolkata and Port Blair in 2014.

The renovated community centre. (Anil Dayal/HT Photo)

Rawat was instrumental in the renovation of the community centre in Sector 40, which is considered to be one of the oldest in the city.

The community centre is now fully air-conditioned, has two fully-furnished rooms for the bride and groom, separate washrooms for men, women and physically challenged, a kitchen, pantry, open terrace, meeting lounge, office, library room and gym. However, she courted controversy when she invited the MC commissioner instead of mayor Arun Sood for the inauguration the community centre in April 2016.

Tomorrow: Ward 10 Hardeep Singh

First Published: Oct 14, 2016 12:46 IST