Chandigarh: Anup Gupta of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the Chandigarh mayoral election Tuesday, defeating Jasbir Singh Laddi of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) by a single vote. Out of the 29 votes polled, Gupta got 15 while Laddi got 14 votes.
For the the mayoral election, the elected councillors of the Chandigarh municipal corporation cast their votes. The municipal corporation of Chandigarh has 35 members, and both BJP and AAP have 14 councillors each. However, BJP had one extra vote — that of Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher, who is an ex-officio member of the municipal corporation House. The Congress has six seats in the corporation while the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) one. Both parties decided to abstain from voting.
After the results were out, AAP candidate Laddi tweeted, “BJP + Congress + Akali Vs AAP”.
This is the second instance when the Congress and the Akali Dal abstained from voting, and last year, too, BJP had won the mayoral elections by one vote against the AAP.
In January last year, the mayoral elections had witnessed a massive uproar after the presiding officer declared one vote of the AAP invalid — out of the total 28 votes cast, BJP got 14 while AAP had 13. Later, in June, Congress councillor Gurcharan Jeet Singh had joined the BJP, changing the voting equation for this year’s mayoral elections, giving an edge of one vote to the BJP over AAP.
Tuesday’s elections were conducted in the presence of the deputy commissioner Chandigarh Vinay Pratap Singh. Before the voting began the AAP councillors questioned why nominated councillors, who did not have any right to vote, were also present in the House, to which Singh said that there was no provision that barred them from witnessing the elections.
Gupta replaces BJP’s Sarabjit Kaur as city’s mayor elected last year. The mayor’ s tenure in Chandigarh is of one year only.
Gupta was elected as a first time councillor in the municipal corporation elections held in 2021. With declared assets of Rs 45 crore, he was the richest candidate in the fray. Last year, Gupta had been chosen the deputy mayor of the city.
Son of former BJP councillor Rajesh Gupta, the new mayor is a businessman and is the municipal councillor from Ward Number 11, which includes sectors 18, 19 and 21.
Last week, the Chandigarh unit of the Congress in a series of tweets announced that the party wouldn’t be contesting polls for the posts of mayor, senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor of Chandigarh.
The decision, a tweet said, was taken after a “series of meetings” with the six Congress councillors and the party high command.
The rationale given was that the people of Chandigarh had given a mandate to the Congress “to sit in the opposition” during the 2021 municipal corporation elections and that the party wished to act in accordance with the “wishes of the voters” of the city.
The people of Chandigarh gave a mandate to the Congress party to sit in the opposition, during 2021 MC elections. Acting in accordance with the wishes of the voters of Chandigarh, the party will honestly but emphatically play the role of a constructive opposition in the MC House.
— Chandigarh Congress (@INCChandigarh) January 12, 2023
The sole Akali councillor Hardeep Singh told mediapersons Monday that the BJP should have fielded a senior candidate for the post of the mayor but instead they had chosen a relatively junior first-time councillor due to which he decided to not participate in the elections.
In Tuesday’s election the post of the senior deputy mayor and the deputy mayor were also won by BJP candidates Kanwarjeet Singh Rana and Harjeet Singh.
(Edited by Anumeha Saxena)
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