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Chandigarh

Posted at: Jan 12, 2019, 7:20 AM; last updated: Jan 12, 2019, 7:20 AM (IST)CITY’S NEXT MAYOR

Rajesh Kalia likely to be BJP choice

Party core group to decide candidate at Delhi meet today

New Mayor to be elected on Jan 18

  • Incumbent Mayor Davesh Moudgil’s one-year term will end on January 17. The MC House will elect the new Mayor on January 18. Along with the Mayor, the House would also elect the Senior Deputy Mayor and the Deputy Mayor on the same day.

BJP has Max votes

  • The BJP has 20 of the 26 seats in the MC House.
  • While the Congress has four votes, SAD and Independent councillors have one vote each.
Rajesh Kalia likely to be BJP choice
Rajesh Kalia

Sandeep Rana

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11

The BJP core group will decide the party’s candidate for the post of Mayor during a meeting in Delhi tomorrow. Councillor Rajesh Kalia leads the race among four contenders for the ticket to the post, which has been kept for reserved candidates.

Sources confirmed that Kalia, who belongs to the city BJP president Sanjay Tandon’s camp, has been able to convince MP Kirron Kher of the warring faction. The two leaders are likely to propose his name in the meeting. 

Bharat Kumar, Farmila and Satish Kainth from the party are the other contenders for the post. Earlier, Bharat and Farmila were said to be leading the race, but things are now said to be falling in place for Kalia, who represents Maloya, EWS Colony, Maloya, Sector 39 (West) and the Grain Market area.

One of the major factors working for him is that he hails from Valmiki community, which has a good chunk of votes in the city. Party leaders said the community comprises 70 per cent of the total SC population in the city. By picking up Kalia for the post of Mayor, the BJP would try to impress on Valmikis ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. His closeness with Tandon is another reason. 

Sources said Kirron too agreed to Kalia’s request for recommending his name for the post. The MP had little choice this time. Only four councillors, out of the 20 BJP councillors, are in the fray as the seat was for councillor from reserved category. 

Last time, Davesh Moudgil, who was Kirron’s choice, was selected as the party’s nominee for the post. Before that, Asha Jaswal from the Tandon group was named for the post.

Leaders confirmed the city BJP core group members, including city incharge Prabhat Jha, organisation secretary Dinesh Kumar, Tandon and Kirron, are already in Delhi for the National Council. They will hold a meeting to zero in on the mayoral candidate tomorrow.

Jha is expected to make a formal announcement on this here on Sunday.

Speaking to Chandigarh Tribune, both Kirron and Tandon maintained, “Nothing has been decided about the candidature yet. The candidate will be decided during the core group meeting at Delhi.”

The BJP, which has absolute majority in the MC House, wants to avoid embarrassment it faced last year when the core group meeting saw differences between the two factions coming out in the open. Then, the party had announced Moudgil as its nominee for the post of Mayor. However, the then sitting Mayor Asha Jaswal revolted along with certain councillors and decided to contest as independent.

The ruling party also wants to quell any possible cross-voting attempt, which could benefit the Congress. 

The Congress has one contender, Sheela Devi, for the reserved post.

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