BJP bags addl votes as it wins Mayor, Dy Mayor posts

BJP leaders Chander Mohan Gupta and Purmina Sharma after being elected as Mayor and Dy Mayor of JMC on Thursday. -Excelsior/Rakesh
BJP leaders Chander Mohan Gupta and Purmina Sharma after being elected as Mayor and Dy Mayor of JMC on Thursday. -Excelsior/Rakesh

Cong, Ind put up impressive fight
Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Nov 15: After winning number of Municipal Councils and Committees including all six in Kathua district, the BJP today registered impressive victory in the elections for the posts of Mayor and Deputy Mayor in Jammu Municipal Corporation by securing more votes than number of the party’s Corporators and pushing Congress and its supported Independent way behind.
The Mayor and Deputy Mayor will have a term of two and a half years, official sources told the Excelsior.
In the previous Corporation (2005-2010), the Mayor and Deputy Mayor had a term of one year only and fresh elections for the posts used to be held every year.
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Though victory of BJP candidate for the post of Mayor, Chander Mohan Gupta, second-time Corporator from Ward No. 35 in Jammu West Assembly constituency and Purnima Sharma, Corporator from Ward No. 1 in Jammu City East segment, was certain in view of clear majority secured by the BJP in the JMC, the party secured two additional votes in the election for the post of Mayor and five excess votes for Deputy Mayor.
In the elections held today in the 75-member House, Gupta secured 45 votes and was elected as the Mayor defeating Independent candidate, Vijay Choudhary, backed by the Congress, who polled 30 votes.
Mrs Choudhary happens to be the wife of Manmohan Choudhary, who had served as Mayor of the JMC as a Congress candidate for one year in the last House. Choudhary had, however, left Congress to join the PDP and his wife had contested election of the Corporator from Ward No. 42 in Gandhi Nagar Assembly segment as an Independent candidate as the PDP had boycotted Urban Local Bodies elections.
Purnima Sharma, the first time Corporator and former women wing president of the BJP polled 48 votes and defeated Congress candidate Charanjeet Kour, Corporator from Ward No.27 in Jammu West constituency, who mustered 27 votes. Kour is the wife of prominent Congress leader and former Corporator Surinder Singh Shingari.
In the House of 75, BJP has 43 seats, five more than the majority mark while Congress has just 14 and Independents 18.
The Independents and Congress had joined hands to challenge the BJP for election to the posts of Mayor and Deputy Mayor. Together, they accounted for 32 votes. However, going by the votes secured by the BJP candidates, the Mayor polled two additional votes than the BJP number while the Deputy Mayor secured five votes more than total number of the BJP Corporators.
Sources indicated that some Independent Corporators, including those who had contested the elections as Independent candidates on being denied tickets by the BJP in the JMC?elections, might have voted for the BJP candidates instead of affiliating themselves with the Congress and Independents.
The BJP has now gained control of both the Municipal Corporations of Jammu and Srinagar.
The Srinagar Municipal Corporation has BJP supported Mayor, Junaid Azim Mattu, who had won the election as People’s Conference candidate. People’s Conference of Sajjad Lone is a pre-poll ally of the BJP.
Apart from the twin Corporations, BJP now has number of Municipal Councils and Committees with its chairpersons and vice chairpersons across the State.
The BJP, Congress and Independent candidates for the posts of Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Jammu Municipal Corporation, were satisfied with outcome of the results, going by the numbers.
The BJP leaders were of the view that they got the support of five Independents even though they had comprehensive majority on their own in the JMC while the Congress Corporators opined that they polled 16 votes of Independent Corporators for the post of Mayor and 13 for Deputy Mayor, which were quite significant.
In the 2005-2010 Corporation, BJP leader Kavinder Gupta had served Mayor for three terms of one year each while Congress leaders Manmohan Choudhary (now in PDP) and Narinder Singh Raju had served as Mayors for one term of an year each. Congress Corporator Rani Gargi Billowria had remained Deputy Mayor for the first year while National Conference’s prominent leader, Dharamvir Singh Jamwal had held the post of Deputy Mayor for remaining four terms. NC had only six Corporators but had alliance with the Congress then.

Chhewang
quits BJP, LS
The BJP suffered a major setback when its Lok Sabha member from Ladakh seat today resigned from the party as well as the Parliament membership.
Though Chhewang, who had given the BJP its first ever seat of Lok Sabha from Ladakh in 2014 elections, didn’t take calls on his resignation, BJP State president Ravinder Raina told the Excelsior that Chhewang has taken retirement from the politics.
“Chhewang wasn’t active during elections to Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Kargil as also Urban Local Bodies polls in Leh and Kargil. He had told the party leadership that he wants to retire from the politics,” Raina said.
Chhewang is reported to have submitted his resignation from Lok Sabha to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and from party to BJP State president, Ravinder Raina.
Sources said Chhewang was feeling let down by the BJP as he felt that not only he as an individual but even Ladakh region has been ignored by the BJP, which had made tall promises during 2014 Parliament elections, leading to the party’s victory.
However, the BJP failed to keep up majority of its promises made with Leh district, resulting into the party drawing blank in Leh during Municipal elections though having two-third majority in LAHDC Leh.
The BJP after suffering humiliating defeat at the hands of Congress in Leh Municipal Committee had changed its Chairman-cum-Chief Executive Councilor of LAHDC Leh.