The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation elections by defeating local traditional political parties. When asked national general secretary Vinod Tawde, who was also in charge of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation elections, the motivation behind this success, he said, “Due to corruption and policy failure Punjab government has failed on various fronts. People were fed up and they voted for BJP for the development and welfare of the people.”
“There might be some perceptions created but in reality, Punjab loves BJP and Modi. Local dedicated BJP workers of Chandigarh functioned efficiently. I am always committed to the party and people,” Tawde further stated.
When asked about the challenges in the present scenario in Punjab, Tawde said, “There were no major challenges, AAP got 14 seats, BJP got 12 seats and Congress got 8 seats, Akalis got 1 seat and the Congress and the SAD abstained from the election. This is how we got maximum numbers to elect our Mayor.”
Whereas local Congress workers said, “AAP played well. They contested for the first time and became SLP. BJP has a government in the centre so it can easily attract councillors. Look at the results, no political party got a clear majority. Congress and Akalis did not support AAP but one of the Congress seats supported BJP.”
Bharatiya Janata Party’s Sarabjit Kaur Dhillon was elected the new Chandigarh mayor after she defeated Aam Aadmi Party’s Anju Katyal by one vote. Seven councillors of the Congress and the lone member of the Shiromani Akali Dal in the 35-member House abstained from voting in the Chandigarh municipal corporation (MC) mayoral election. Sarabjit Kaur got 14 votes, while Katyal got 13 votes and one vote was declared invalid. Both the BJP and the AAP had 14 votes each in the House.
Sarabjit Kaur Dhillon, a councillor from ward number 6 is the wife of Jagtar Singh Dhillon, a former councillor and lives in Mani Majra. She has studied till BA second year. She entered politics after her husband’s ward was reserved for a woman candidate. BJP’s Dalip Sharma won the senior deputy mayor election, defeating AAP’s Prem Lata. Sharma got 15 votes and Lata 13 out of the 28 votes cast. BJP candidate Anup Gupta won the deputy mayor’s election. He was declared the winner by a draw of lots. Earlier, Gupta and Ram Chander Yadav of the AAP were tied with 14 votes each in the House with the strength of 28 members.
“BJP once again looted the deal. We were the single largest party with 14 councillors. Our elected members of the Municipal body were overpowered and got out from the electoral process venue. This was purely a horse-trading that BJP and Congress are always into. Their one vote was even torn by the electoral officer inside,” said Aman Arora an MLA from AAP.
Manoj Lubana, Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress said, “Our calculation and planning was to keep AAP away from the power of Chandigarh municipal corporation. We cast our one vote in the favour of a national level party. Our intelligence had briefed up that AAP Mayor can be an anarchist. As one councillor’s vote was declared void, we understood the result and gave powerplay to be the kingmaker in Chandigarh. Our one vote got a lady to be the Mayor.”
“Their very own corporators were not happy with the Congress party. The people on the other hand were not satisfied with the state government and its policies, which led to the votes against Congress and in favour of BJP. The people of Chandigarh have shown Congress their place, and given a message that they choose BJP for governance and betterment of the state,” said Atul Moreshwar Save an MLA of BJP.
Amanjit Singh, a Chandigarh resident said, “The entry of the AAP, in a traditionally two-pronged battle, has particularly disturbed the Congress party’s election strategy. In many wards, Congress and SAD were competing for the same anti-BJP votes. Unlike BJP and AAP, which spent heavily on advertisements, the party was focusing more on individual contacts with voters and social media.”
BJP fought anti-incumbency by exhibiting more than 50 achievements and its key message was put across different media platforms and door-to-door campaigns. Known for its cadre strength, the party took every advantage. A three-cornered fight between Congress, BJP and AAP made its attempt at a win that much more complex and harder.