Just like last year, this time again the mayoral elections has triggered a rebellion in the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP), with Satish Kainth filing his papers as an independent after the party chose Rajesh Kalia as its official candidate for the MC’s top post on Monday. The elections are scheduled for January 18. All three candidates of the BJP — Rajesh Kalia for the post of mayor, SAD councillor Hardeep Singh for senior deputy mayor and Kanwarjeet Singh Rana for deputy mayor — filed their papers on the last day of nominations amid high drama on Monday. BJP’s general secretary (organisation), Dinesh Kumar after meeting with the party members, made the announcement at the party office. The moment Kumar announced Kalia as the candidate, both Farmila and Kainth walked out alleging that the senior BJP leaders have played the politics of casteism, which is not good for the party or for the city. Later Kainth filed his nominations as an independent candidate, getting support from Farmila and Dailp Sharma.
Coming down heavily on MP Kirron Kher and Chandigarh BJP chief Sanjay Tandon, Satish Kainth alleged that as both the senior leaders are hoping to get the parliamentary ticket, eyeing the Lok Sabha elections, they purposely and unethically chose Kalia who comes from Valmiki community. “On one side our Prime Minister Narendra Modi claims that BJP does not indulge in caste politics, but the local unit leaders had intentionally campaigned for a Valmiki candidate, touching a new low, forgetting the courtesies that the choice was supposed to be made from the reserved category having a good merit and seniority”, said Kainth. It is noted that both Farmila and Kainth are from Kher and Jain group. Sources said that Kainth has filed his nominations under the influence of the outgoing mayor Davesh Moudgil and Ex MP Satpal Jain.
Will contest for all 38 communities, not only Valmiki’s: Kainth
Keeping all the speculations aside that maybe before January 18, the election date , the second-time municipal Councillor Kainth will withdraw his name, Kainth said that he is going to stand by his decision and will be fighting for all the 38 communities coming under the reserved category.
Chances of cross-voting increases
Kainth and Farmila’s rebel has certainly increased the chances of cross voting within the party, becoming a big challenge before the senior leadership to assure that there is no cross-voting. BJP which enjoys a brute majority of 20 Councillors in the house of 26, has a history of cross-voting by its members in different elections. In past 2015 and 2000 mayoral elections, BJP despite having the majority had lost the elections to its opposition candidates because of the cross-voting.
Factionalism in BJP will help us, Congress
With just four Councillors, now the Congress party is having high hopes that the BJP’s factionalism will help them to grab the MC’s top post. All three candidates of the Congress-Sheela Devi for the post of mayor, Gurbax Rawat for senior deputy mayor and Ravinder Gujral for deputy mayor- filed their papers.
“I have not made any choice, its party high command’s decision. It is unethical to allege that we have done caste politics. Even another candidate Bharat Kumar also comes from Valmiki community. We will try to persuade him to withdraw his nominations.”
KIRRON KHER,MP CHANDIGARH
I am thankful to party high command and local senior leaders of the party for choosing me for the top post. I will talk to Kainth and I am sure he will withdraw his nominations. We are from one community and are still untied,”
RAJESH KALIA, MAYOR CANDIDATE
A day before the announcement all the four candidates had guaranteed Dinesh Kumar and Sanjay Tandon that they will be obeying the party high command’s decision. It is unfortunate that Kainth either out of anger or under some one’s influence have filed the nominations. We are hopeful he will withdraw his nominations,”
EX-MAYOR ARUN SOOD
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