Rift in BJP: Asha Jaswal pulls out of Chandigarh mayoral race | punjab | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Rift in BJP: Asha Jaswal pulls out of Chandigarh mayoral race

Five-day drama ends after outgoing mayor gets rap from party high command, apology from official pick Moudgil.

punjab Updated: Jan 08, 2018 15:44 IST
Hillary Victor
Hillary Victor
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Rift in BJP,BJP,Asha Jaswal
BURYING THE HATCHET: Outgoing mayor Asha Kumari Jaswal offering sweets to BJP mayoral candidate Davesh Moudgil in presence of city BJP chief Sanjay Tandon and other party councillors at her house in Sector 21, Chandigarh, on Sunday.(Sikander Singh/HT)

After a rap from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) high command and apology from its official candidate Davesh Moudgil, outgoing mayor Asha Kumari Jaswal on Sunday backed out from the mayoral elections.

Even Ravi Kant Sharma, who filed his nomination for the post of senior deputy mayor as an Independent, has pulled out, bringing the five-day-long drama to an end. Both will withdraw their candidature before voting on Tuesday.

Speaking to HT, Jaswal said, “Davesh is like my son and had deviated from the path. Now that he has apologised in written, I feel like a lucky mother who was able to put her son on the right path.”

Cross-voting still a concern
  • Even as Jaswal decided to withdraw her candidature, fears of cross-voting still remain.
  • The BJP has 20 elected councillors in the 36-member House.
  • While the nine nominated councillors won’t be voting, MP Kirron Kher, who is the ex officio member, the Akali councillor and Independent councillor are in Moudgil’s favour.
  • If the rebel BJP councillors indulge in cross-voting, Congress candidate Devinder Singh Babla — who has just his own and three other party councillors’ votes — might get catapulted to the post of mayor.

While claiming that she and other rebel councillors will vote in Moudgil’s favour, Jaswal said she will keep an eye on him so that he doesn’t “go on the wrong path”.

Expressing his happiness, Moudgil said: “From day one, I have been saying that she (Jaswal) is a motherly figure to me. Now, all BJP councillors will work towards winning all three seats.”

Supported by at least 10 BJP councillors, Jaswal had filed her nomination for the post of mayor, soon after the party finalised Moudgil’s name on Wednesday. Even the party’s official candidate for the post of deputy mayor, Vinod Aggarwal, had staged a coup and said he had filed his papers on behalf of the rebel group.

All these councillors belong to the camp of Chandigarh BJP chief Sanjay Tandon, who wanted to field former mayor Arun Sood.

Attacks Kirron, Jain

Earlier in the day, Asha held a meeting with 11 rebel councillors at her house in Sector 21.

During the meeting, which went on for nearly six hours, she is learnt to have accused Davesh of being corrupt and even called MP Kirron Kher and former MP Satya Pal Jain “liars” for misleading the party high command.

Later in the evening, Moudgil and Tandon also reached her house. Moudgil handed over a letter to her, in which he mentioned that he apologises for his mistakes and will not repeat them in future.

In fact, some councillors from Tandon camp had earlier lodged a complaint against Moudgil, accusing him of being involved in anti-party activities. This happened after Moudgil did not invite mayor Jaswal for inauguration of a sehaj safai kendra in Sector 47 in October last year and got it inaugurated by the municipal commissioner.

Tandon had also accompanied Jaswal to Delhi on Saturday to apprise the party high command of the situation, but it is learnt that senior BJP leaders told Jaswal to withdraw her nomination or face expulsion.

A senior party leader, not wishing to be named, said Tandon camp was just using “pressure tactics” as they want the next city BJP president to be from among them.

Both Tandon and Kher want a councillor owing allegiance to them to become the mayor as it will help them in getting the Lok Sabha ticket from Chandigarh for the 2019 elections. In 2014, Tandon was a strong contender but due to infighting in the party, Kher got the ticket.

First Published: Jan 08, 2018 15:43 IST