Chandigarh, January 15
The ruling BJP and opposition AAP will have to slug it out between themselves as the city Congress as well as SAD are likely to abstain from the mayoral polls on Tuesday.
However, the two parties will take a final call on Monday about whether they will vote or not. Last year, both sides had abstained from voting in the elections.
The Congress, whose councillors along with party president HS Lucky are camping in Shimla, will hold a formal meeting on Monday evening to take a final call, while SAD’s senior leadership will also decide on the issue on Monday.
The Congress has six councillors, while the SAD has one in the MC House. Should the Congress vote in the polls, it will emerge as the kingmaker. If the Congress stays away, the SAD’s lone vote may make or mar the plans of the two contesting parties to get their Mayor, Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor elected.
Reason: The contesting sides — the BJP and AAP — have 14 councillors each, but the ruling party has the edge with the vote of ex officio member i.e. local MP Kirron Kher. With the saffron party having an extra vote, chances of cross-voting are high, which may turn the tables on the party. This has prompted all three parties to herd their councillors out of the city to keep them out of reach of rival parties, knowing every single vote counts.
If the Congress decides not to vote, its councillors are expected to return after the January 17 polling day. While the councillors of BJP (currently in Solan) and AAP (Ropar) are expected to return by Monday evening or early Tuesday morning.
“Our councillors are getting all sorts of offers, right from being made chairman of committees or given security, etc. I want to make it clear, even if one councillor of ours is poached, all remaining councillors will be directed to vote in favour of the other candidate,” claimed Lucky, the city Congress chief.
BJP, AAP and SAD councillors, too, are claiming to have received offers from other parties. The saffron party has fielded Anup Gupta against AAP’s Jasbir Singh Laddi for the Mayor’s post. BJP’s Kanwarjit Singh Rana is up against AAP’s Taruna Mehta for Senior Deputy Mayor, while BJP’s Harjeet Singh is taking on AAP’s Suman Sharma for Deputy Mayor’s post.
Final call today
The Congress, whose councillors are camping in Shimla, will hold a formal meeting on Monday evening to take a final call, while SAD’s senior leadership will also decide on the issue on Monday.