The ruling Congress today won the Chandigarh mayor poll with its candidate Ravinder Pal Singh managing to get the better of BJP’s Jagjit Singh Kang by a single vote.
As against 17 votes of Ravinder Pal, BJP backed independent candidate Jagjit Singh Kang got 16 votes after the results were announced by Returning Officer Kuldeep Singh Chandpuri here.
The posts of Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor also went to the Congress’ camp, with Kuldip Singh and Sheila Phul Singh emerging victorious.
Mr. Kang had rebelled against his own party just a few days back after he was denied nomination for mayor’s post despite reckoning himself as a strong contender.
Making quick moves to capitalise on his rebellion, the BJP gave him full backing going to the extent of withdrawing their candidate Rajesh Gupta who had been running for the post.
Meanwhile, the BJP has alleged that the verdict was “bought” and they were contemplating to challenge it.
Former MP and senior BJP leader Satya Pal Jain claimed that Mr. Chandpuri had first declared Mr. Kang as the elected mayor announcing that he had got 17 votes as against 16 of the Congress candidate, “but as soon as Mr. Kang’s supporters started victory celebrations, the Returning Officer reversed his decision in Mr. Pal’s favour,” he alleged.
Mr. Jain said that Congress had managed the mayor’s seat “using money power and pressure tactics”.
“They have not got the verdict, but bought it. We are seriously thinking of challenging these elections,” he said.
Interestingly, the Returning Officer today admitted that he had got an anonymous letter written in Punjabi, mentioning that he should not feel threatened from any quarter if anyone tries to put pressure on him and that he should stay firm and hold a free and fair poll.
“Before the poll, Mr. Chandpuri had ruled that no one will be allowed to take their mobiles inside while voting, yet Union Minister and Congress’ Chandigarh MP Pawan Kumar Bansal insisted and took his mobile inside....our charge is that when Kang was declared elected, the Congress councillors and their supporters created a ruckus and within minutes the decision was reversed,” Mr. Jain said.
Mr. Bansal, however, refused to be drawn into any controversy, saying that Returning Officer must have taken Mr. Kang’s name by mistake and soon corrected it.
In a House strength of 36, Congress has the votes of 15 councillors and a local MP.
Eight councillors are of the BJP, nine councillors are nominated to the House while Shiromani Akali Dal, BSP and Independent have strength of one each.