Haryana: Local bodies’ elections
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Gurgaon: BJP largest party but short of majority
Still Likely To Get Post Of Mayor
BJP suffered a setback in the Gurgaon civic polls despite being the only party to contest in all 35 wards, winning 14 and falling short of the halfway mark (18).Counting was on in two wards at the time of going to press.
The party must now bank on Independents, who won 20 wards, to cobble up numbers it needs to put its own candidate in the mayor's chair. Senior functionaries said it was confident of doing so and controlling the House. But in a state where it runs the government, and in an election where it was the only major politi cal force, the result is being seen as a setback. Congress did not contest -like the last MCG election in 2011, it backed some Independents. INLD put up candidates in 20 of the 35 wards, and backed Independents in other wards. It won just one seat. Among the BJP candi dates who lost were Hi mani Aggarwal, the sister-in-law of Gurgaon MLA Umesh Aggarwal, and Pramod Mangla, son of Haryana Gau Sewa Aayog chairman Bhani Ram Mangla. The party's ticket distribution strategy appeared to have hurt it badly . In as many as seven wards, candidates (or their relatives) who left the BJP camp because they were ignored, contested as Independents and won. In another ward, a close fight was going on till late in the night.
Rao Inderjit Singh, the BJP MP from Gurgaon and Union minister, said, “We will analyse the results that have come in. Right now, we accept the verdict of the people.“
Even though it went into the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) poll without any serious political rival challenging it, sources said there was unease in the BJP camp over distribution of tickets and the caste factor playing a role in deciding the outcome.Party insiders said the BJP camp requested chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar to hit the campaign trail himself, sensing it needed to field some big guns.
“ As the campaigning came to an end, the party realised it may not be able to win even a dozen seats and urged the CM to come and campaign,“ said a senior party functionary .“Among the high-profile seats was Ward 17 from which the probable mayor, Madhu Azad, was contesting. The other seat for which the CM campaigned was that of the son of Bhani Ram Mangla.“
The MCG held its first election in 2011, and that one too was dominated by Independents (25 of them won). BJP had won just four seats but a majority of Independents had switched support to BJP midterm, after Rao Inderjit Singh joined the party from Congress.
Captain Ajay Yadav, a minister in the former Congress regime, contested the verdict in two wards, alleging Independents backed by the party had been denied a win.
“Despite the fact that two Congress-backed candidates were winning, the administration declared the BJP candidate the winner in wards 4 and 6 after doing a recount. It is 11pm and I am still at the voting count and I will ensure that justice is done. I have spoken to the deputy commissioner of Gurgaon and have asked him to look into the matter,“ he said. Madhu Azad, the BJP can didate who won from Ward 7 and is believed to be frontrunner for the mayor's post (reserved for a woman this time), was already looking forward to her new assignment.
“I will take forward the projects like Swachh Bharat and Beti Bachao announced by Prime Minister Modi and CM Khattar to places where it is yet to reach,“ she said after she was declared victorious.
BJP MP brings 6 independents over
Inderjit Faults Party's Ticket Distribution
Rao Inderjit Singh, the Gurgaon MP and a minister of state in the Modi government, sent a strong message to the Manohar Lal Khattar government when he bro ught over six Independent councillors to the BJP fold, handing the party a majority in the Gurgaon corporation.Two of the six had been suspended by BJP for contesting against the party's wishes.
In Sunday's election, BJP was the only party that contested all 35 seats, but managed to win just 14, with Independents -some of them rebel BJP candidates -bagging 20 seats and INLD one.Khattar, who visited Gurga on on Tuesday , said BJP had done well.
But on Wednesday , Rao Inderjit did not mince words.“The ticket distribution should have been handled in a better way; more thought should have been applied. I was not part of the ticket distribution.The expectation was much higher,“ he told TOI.
With six Independents joining BJP, the party's strength is now 20, two more than the halfway mark. After the for mal joining at the party's Sector 10 office in the presence of Haryana BJP general secretary Sandeep Joshi, the six were taken to the Delhi BJP headquarters for a meeting with senior leaders.
“The Independents who joined today contacted me and expressed their keenness to join the party as they believe in its policy and its leaders,“ Rao Inderjit said. Some of them might have been suspended by the party but their faith in the party is in tact and that is why we decided to accede to their request,“ Rao Inderjit said.
The six who joined BJP are Dinesh Saini (ward 8), Naveen Dahiya (12), Rajni Sahni (17), Ashwani Sharma (19), Sunita Yadav (22), and Kuldeep Singh Bohra (31).
With Inderjit stealing a march in ensuring that the party gets a majority , there is speculation that his rival and party colleague Rao Narbir, who is a cabinet minister in the Khattar government and the MLA from Badshahpur, might also parade another set of Independents
BJP sweeps mayoral elections
Ruling BJP swept the mayoral elections in five cities of Haryana, with Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar terming it as an endorsement of the policies and development agenda of the government by the people.
The party's mayoral candidates from Hisar, Karnal, Panipat, Rohtak and Yamunanagar registered emphatic wins.
Though opposition Congress did not contest these polls, some of its leaders extended support to independents. The INLD-BSP combine, which was contesting some of the mayoral seats on party symbol, faced a severe beating and was even behind the independents.
It was the first time that mayors of the five municipal corporations were elected directly. Earlier, the councillors used to elect the mayor. Also the Haryana Election Commission had decided to treat 'none-of-the-above' or NOTA option as a "fictional candidate", making it must for winning candidates to secure more votes than those cast for NOTA. In case, NOTA would have got more votes, the election would have been held afresh.
The election was considered a battle of prestige for the chief minister who had campaigned extensively.
Asked if there was a possibility that Assembly polls, which are due in October next year, would be held together with the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Khattar told reporters, "If there is any proposal from the Centre's side, we are ready (for the assembly polls). But on our part, we have said that these polls will be held as per schedule."
From Panipat, Avneet Kaur registered a massive victory over her nearest rival Anshu Kaur, who was backed by a local Congress leader, The BJP candidate had polled 1,26,321 votes and won by a margin of 74,940 votes.
Immediately after her win, Avneet said among her immediate priority will be to come up with a plan to decongest traffic in Panipat city.
From Khattar's home constituency Karnal, Renu Bala Gupta overcame a combined opposition challenge. She defeated Asha Wadhwa, who was supported by Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Congress, by a margin of 9,348 votes.
Gautam Sardana defeated Rekha Aren by a margin of 28,091 votes to register win from Hisar, where the rival candidate was supported by two senior Congress leaders from there.
Manmohan Goyal defeated Congress-supported Sita Ram from Rohtak by a margin of 14,776 votes while in Yamunanagar, Madan Singh defeated Rakesh Kumar.
There are 10 municipal corporations in the state and polls were earlier held in Gurugram and Faridabad. Due to delimitation exercise and related litigation, municipal polls are yet to be held in Sonipat MC, Panchkula and Ambala. Expressing happiness over the election results, Khattar told reporters, " I congratulate the people of Haryana. Our candidates have registered wins at five places while majority of our councilors too have won. This is victory of people of Haryana, victory of our workers."
"People have endorsed our government's policies, our development agenda and various initiatives which we have taken to take the state forward during the past four years. It is a stamp of approval from the public' ... This is victory of our government's achievements. To serve people has been our priority and will remain so in future also," he said.
Opposition parties had targeted the chief minister for allegedly playing 'Punjabi' card to woo the urban voters in these polls. Khattar was asked about a controversial advertisement for which Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had targeted him during his Sonipat visit a few days ago.
Referring to advertisements in two Hindi newspapers, Kejriwal had said on Sunday, the day when civic polls were held, that "the advertisements say that after a gap of 52 years Haryana has got a chief minister belonging to the Punjabi community. If you commit a mistake today, then in another 60 years you will not get a Punjabi chief minister".
Khattar said he had nothing to do with that particular advertisement and that people issue advertisements on their own.
"I have nothing to do with that," he said.
He also added: "We are committed to development of entire state, from day one we have said 'Haryana Ek Haryanvi Ek', this is the mantra we believe in. People belong to different castes, but we do not discriminate on basis of caste, we treat all as one."
Replying to a question on civic polls, he said opposition had to bite dust."Opposition had shown great unity in Karnal, but there too they were defeated," he said.
He congratulated Avneet Kaur from Panipat for her "landslide win".
Replying to a question, Khattar said "civics, assembly, Lok Sabha polls are all different in nature and he does not treat any election as 'semi-final'".
He, however, said that win will give a boost to the ruling outfit to work even harder to take the state on the path of progress.
Asked about demands by opposition for voting through ballot paper, Khattar said: "When they win, the same EVM is good for them. When they lose, they raise doubts over EVM, this has become their habit. The EVM system is good, it is transparent and results are out in shortest period of time".
To another question, Khattar said it is up to the Election Commission to see when they want to hold bypolls to Jind assembly segment, which has fallen vacant after the death of INLD MLA Hari Chand Middha in August.