The Chandigarh mayoral polls will take place today with both the BJP and the Congress-AAP alliance claiming they are set to win the election.
The mayoral polls this time assume significance as the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party — both INDIA bloc members — have joined hands to contest the elections to oust the BJP from the chair of mayor which it has been winning for the last eight years.
Meanwhile, AAP candidate for the post of mayor Kuldeep Kumar moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court this evening, seeking appointment of a court commissioner to supervise the Chandigarh mayoral poll process in order to ensure free and fair election.
During the urgent hearing on Wednesday night, a division bench of Justices Deepak Sibal and Deepak Manchanda did not accept the plea of appointing the court commissioner for supervising the mayoral polls.
While speaking to reporters after the hearing, the petitioner’s counsel Ramanpreet Bara said that the UT administration during the hearing accepted the withdrawal of the nominations of Congress nominee for mayor post Jasbir Singh Bunty and AAP’s candidates Neha Musavat and Poonam for the posts of senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor, respectively.
Senior standing counsel Anil Mehta submitted in the court that like earlier, videography of the entire election process would be conducted.
It was the second petition filed by the AAP and the Congress within 24 hours.
On Wednesday night, Chandigarh Congress president H S Lucky had moved the high court with a habeas corpus petition, claiming that the Chandigarh police was not allowing the Congress leaders to meet his party councillor Jasbir Singh Bunty and also that he had been “detained” at his residence.
However, the bench of Justice Alok Jain dismissed the petition after the city police filed a status report, stating that the councillor had sought police security in the wake of the Chandigarh mayoral polls.
Meanwhile, under the Congress-AAP alliance, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will fight for the mayor’s seat while the Congress will contest the posts of senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor.
The polls for the posts of mayor, senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor will be held today, said officials here.
AAP senior leader Raghav Chadha and senior Congress leader Pawan Kumar Bansal met here a day ahead of polling, sources said.
Rajya Sabha member Chadha on Tuesday said that the INDIA bloc will sweep the Chandigarh mayoral polls and the victory will be the curtain raiser for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
In the 35-member Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, the BJP has 14 councillors. It also has an ex-officio member MP (Kirron Kher) who has voting rights.
The AAP has 13 councillors and the Congress seven. The Shiromani Akali Dal has one councillor in the House.
The MC officials have said that no mobile phone, camera and any other electronic gadget will be allowed during the voting at the assembly hall of the MC office.
The mayor is elected by the councillors through secret ballots. Hence, the possibility of cross-voting cannot be ruled out.
The Congress abstained from voting in 2022 and 2023, leading to the BJP’s victory in the mayoral polls.
Elections for the three posts are held every year during the five-year term of the House. This year, the mayor’s seat has been reserved for the Scheduled Caste category. This time the mayor will be elected for the third term.
A senior Congress leader said after a tie-up with the AAP, they have total 20 votes with which they will easily win all the three posts.
The BJP has also exuded confidence that its candidates will register victories.
For the mayor seat, the BJP has fielded Manoj Sonkar while the AAP has nominated Kuldeep Kumar Tita. For the post of senior deputy mayor, the contest will be between BJP’s Kuljeet Sandhu and Congress’s Gurpreet Singh Gabi.
For the post of deputy mayor, the BJP has fielded Rajinder Sharma while the Congress party’s nominee is Nirmala Devi.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)