Congress’ newly elected councillor joins BJP in Chandigarh

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In a shot in the arm of the BJP in the Municipal Corporation Chandigarh, newly elected Congress councillor Harpreet Kaur Babla and her husband Devinder Singh Babla on Sunday joined the saffron party.

Now BJP’s count of councillors rose to 13 in the 35-member house, one count less than 14 councillors of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in its poll debut.

No party got a clear majority of 18 seats. The results of all 35 seats were declared on December 27 in which AAP won 14 seats, the BJP 12, the Congress eight and the Shiromani Akali Dal one seat.

In the present House, a winning candidate for the post of Mayor would require 19 votes. AAP requires additional five votes to its tally of 14, while the BJP with 12 seats, plus one its sitting MP vote and newly inducted Harpreet Kaur, too requires five and the Congress 12.

Mayor, with no administrative power, in Chandigarh has a one-year term. As the house is elected for five years, in the first year the Mayor is from general women category. The mayoral election is scheduled on January 9.

Congress’ former leader of opposition Babla and his wife Harpreet Kaur, who won by the highest margin of 3,103 votes, joined the saffron party in the presence of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, city MP Kirron Kher, city BJP president Arun Sood and former city president Sanjay Tandon.

“Babla brand is BJP’s now,” Devinder Babla told the media after joining the party.

Earlier in the day, Babla was expelled by the Congress from the primary membership of the party over spat with city Congress president Subhash Chawla on Saturday at oath-taking ceremony of new councillors.

Chawla’s son too faced a defeat in the civic body polls.

Among the major setbacks, three former BJP mayors — Ravi Kant Sharma, Rajesh Kalia and Davesh Moudgil — lost the polls.

BJP’s four sitting councillors — Shakti Devshali, Sunita Dhawan, Heera Negi and Bharat Kumar — too faced defeat.

AAP’s election campaign committee head, Chander Mukhi Sharma, a Congress turncoat, also lost the elections.

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