Chandigarh MC polls: AAP emerges leading party, BJP second in hung verdict
Chandigarh, Dec 27: New entrant Aam Aadmi Party has emerged as the leading outfit in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation polls, winning 14 of 35 wards in the final results declared on Monday.
The BJP, which enjoyed a majority in the previous MC House, came a close second registering win in 12 wards while the Congress bagged eight seats and the Shiromani Akali Dal one.
However, the Congress secured 29.79 per cent votes, highest of the three parties. The BJP got 29.30 per cent of votes while AAP got 27.08 per cent votes.
BJP leader and current city mayor Ravi Kant Sharma was defeated by AAP's Damanpreet Singh from Ward No.17 by a margin of 828 votes.
No party achieved simple majority. A party need 19 votes to have its councillor elected as mayor.
Delhi CM and AAP's national convener termed the party's success an indicative of coming change in Punjab, which is going to polls early next year.
On the election of mayor, AAP leader Manish Sisodia said they are ready to "welcome good persons of every party".
AAP leader Raghav Chadha called his party's performance a "trailer" before the Punjab Assembly polls.
Chandigarh is the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana.
This time, the number of wards in the city was increased from 26 to 35.
In the last MC elections, the BJP had won 20 seats and its erstwhile ally SAD one. The Congress had managed to win only four seats.
Traditionally, the municipal elections, held every five years, see a locking of horns between the BJP and the Congress, but the AAP's entry made the contest this time triangular.
In the results declared on Monday, former mayor and BJP candidate Davesh Moudgil lost to AAP's Jasbir by 939 votes from Ward No. 21.
In Ward No. 25, BJP Yuva Morcha leader Vijay Kaushal Rana was defeated by Yogesh Dhingra of AAP by a margin of 315 votes.
The ward was earlier represented by Chandigarh BJP president Arun Sood.
Among the prominent winners, Harpreet Kaur Babla of the Congress, wife of party senior leader Devinder Singh Babla, won with a margin of 3,103 votes, defeating Rashi Bhasin of the BJP in Ward No.10.
Kuljeet Singh Sandhu of the BJP registered a win from Ward Number 14, defeating AAP's Kuldeep Singh by a margin of 255 votes.
From this ward, Chandigarh Congress chief Subhash Chawla's son Sumit Chawla had also entered the fray.
Reacting to his party's performance, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal said the party's victory is a sign of coming change in Punjab.
Congratulating his party's candidates and workers, he said people of Chandigarh have chosen "honest politics" of AAP, rejecting the "corrupt politics" of its rival parties.
Addressing the media here, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and AAP leader Manish Sisodia said people of Chandigarh have given a message that they want only politics of work.
He asserted there would be AAP's mayor, adding that people have given a mandate for this.
Replying to a question if the Congress extends support, Sisodia said, "We will welcome good persons of every party. Some of those who have won in the MC polls have expressed interest in supporting the mandate of people of Chandigarh."
Asked if "good persons" could be from the BJP, Sisodia said, "Yes, it could be."
People were looking for an "honest, viable alternative", he said.
"These two traditional parties failed to undertake development and bring about a change in the system, which people wanted. People saw how an ordinary councillor, who used to roam on bicycle and scooter, has big farmhouses and accumulated properties," said Chadha.
Asked if the results will have any impact on the upcoming Punjab Assembly polls, Chadha quipped, "This is just a trailer."
"People of Chandigarh have given a chance to Kejriwal, people of Punjab too will give us one chance," he added.
Reacting to his win against the sitting mayor, AAP's Damanpreet Singh said he gives credit for this victory to city party leader Pradeep Chhabra, whom he called "his guru", party national convener Arvind Kejriwal.
Chandigarh BJP president Arun Sood said, "Results are not according to our expectations. People have given a divided verdict. No party, as per results, has a simple majority."
Sood told reporters that the the BJP has 13 votes in the House. It includes the vote of sitting MP Kirron Kher, who is a BJP leader and ex-officio member of the MC House.
He said the BJP will try that a BJP leader becomes the mayor.
Reacting to the results, Chandigarh Congress president Subhash Chawla accused the BJP and the AAP of helping each other in the polls and allegedly using money power to keep his party out.
"Our vote share is maximum but in democracy one goes by number game and in this AAP has maximum seats," said Chawla.
Asked if Congress will support AAP for mayoral post now, Chawla replied, "We do not need to do this. When the BJP and AAP can fight elections together, now let both parties support each other, then there will be no need for voting".