Chandigarh Municipal Corporation Mayoral election postponed to February 6

The postponement of the election has been attributed to the ill health of the presiding officer for the elections

Updated - January 19, 2024 06:58 am IST

Published - January 18, 2024 12:37 pm IST - CHANDIGARH

AAP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sandeep Pathak. File photo

AAP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sandeep Pathak. File photo | Photo Credit: The Hindu

After the Mayoral election for Chandigarh Municipal Corporation slated for Thursday was not held amid high drama during the day, the elections would now take place on February 6.

According to an order issued by Chandigarh’s Deputy Commissioner, the elections for the post of the post of Mayor, senior Deputy Mayor, and Deputy Mayor for Chandigarh MC will now be held on February 6. The decision to re-schedule the elections was taken after assessing the law order situation.

The MC Mayoral election couldn’t be held on January 18 as the election presiding officer fell sick, even as the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court, seeking election. The Court fixed January 23 as the next date of hearing in the matter. The petition was filed by AAP councillor Kuldeep Kumar, who is the candidate for the Mayor seat.

A notice from the Deputy Commissioner’s office stated that in pursuance to the report received from Chandigarh’s Senior Superintendent of Police surrounding the security and law and order situation prevailing due to scheduled Mayoral elections of the Municipal Corporation, and a report of the Medical Superintendent from Chandigarh’s Government Medical Specialty Hospital regarding the hospitalisation of the appointed Presiding Authority Anil Masih due to ill health, the order (regarding re-scheduling polls meeting) has been issued.

Earlier in the day, the Congress and the AAP, both INDIA bloc partners, who had joined hands to contest the Mayoral elections for Chandigarh MC, alleged that it was at the behest of the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) that the electios was deferred.

Ahead of the election, several MC councillors stated that they received the message urging them not to reach the Municipal Corporation till further orders as the presiding authority for the elections meeting, has fallen ill.

Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said councillors were informed that as the presiding officer had fallen sick, the election would not be conducted on Thursday. Mr. Bansal alleged that it was the BJP, which is not allowing the elections to take place as they were set to face defeat in the election.

Held protest

The AAP and Congress councillors staged a protest against the BJP outside the Chandigarh MC office complex.

AAP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadha said that the BJP is scared of the INDIA bloc’s triumph as 20 out of the total 36 votes are in its favor, and the INDIA alliance is poised to win the Chandigarh Mayoral election.

Meanwhile, over a dozen local Congress leaders and workers joined the BJP here. These leaders alleged that Congress has “mortgaged the entire party to its biggest critic the Aam Aadmi Party” and fallen at their feet in the Chandigarh Mayoral election.

Advocate Anil Sharma, who joined the BJP among others said the workers who have joined BJP were very anguished with Congress’s Pawan Bansal, whose working style, they alleged has weekend the Congress. He said that while Congress leaders are being insulted and are being ‘witch-hunted’ by the Aam Aadmi Party-led government in neighbouring Punjab, the Congress is having an alliance with them in Chandigarh, which is unfortunate.

Several senior leaders of the Congress, which is the principal opposition in Punjab have been for long critical of the alliance with the AAP, and according to party insiders, the alliance in Union Territory – Chandigarh with the AAP has only caused heartburn among a section of Punjab Congress members, which could eventually result in trouble for the party.

The Congress and the AAP, both INDIA bloc partners had decided to jointly contest the Mayoral election. As per the alliance, the Congress contested the posts of senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor while the APP fought for the Mayor’s post. This year, the Mayor’s seat was reserved for the Scheduled Caste (SC) category.

In the Chandigarh MC, there are 35 councillors while the Member of Parliament from Chandigarh (of the BJP) is an ex-officio member of the municipal corporation, and also has a voting right. The BJP has 14 councillors. The AAP has 13 councillors while the Congress has seven councillors. The Shiromani Akali Dal has one member in the House.

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