Hindustan Times (Jammu)
Mayors for Dharamshala, Mandi, Palampur MCs elected
BJP’s Onkar Nehria is Dharamshala mayor, Deepali Jaswal to take charge in Mandi; Cong’s Poonam Bali to lead Palampur MC
Elections for the mayors and deputy mayors of the Dharamshala, Mandi, and Palampur municipal corporations were held on Tuesday.
BJP’s Onkar Singh Nehria is the mayor of the Dharamshala MC, Deepali Jaswal of Mandi and Congress’ Poonam Bali will head Palampur’s civic body.
In Dharamshala, Nehria was elected unopposed for the top post while voting was held for the post of his deputy, which was won by independent councillor Sarv Chand.
BJP had eight members in the 17-member house and was one short of majority. Congress had five members while four candidates were independents.
Nehria, who comes from the Gaddi tribe, a dominant community in Dharamshala, had won the election from McLeodganj ward. He had served as a deputy mayor in the previous MC.
Chand had contested the election as an independent candidate after being denied a ticket by the BJP. He had also been expelled from the party for six years. He, however, sided with the BJP after winning the elections.
Chand defeated Congress candidate and former mayor Devinder Jaggi to become the new deputy mayor. He polled 11 votes while Jaggi got six votes. Three Independents voted for the BJP candidate while one favoured the Congress.
After winning the election, Nehria said his priority would be to pace up development projects, especially projects being executed under the smart city mission.
Elections for the Dharamshala mayor had become a prestige issue for the BJP and the CM flew in from Shimla to keep a tab on the entire process. He also met the BJP councillors before election to discuss the strategy.
Virender Bhatt becomes deputy mayor in Mandi
In the newly created Mandi municipal corporation, Deepali Jaswal became the first mayor unopposed while Virender Bhatt was elected as the secondin-command.
BJP had won 11 seats in the 15-member house in Mandi MC and had a clear majority. Congress has four members in the corporation. Jaswal had won the election from Thaneda ward. Bhatt, once a trusted lieutenant of legislator Anil Sharma, won from the Old Mandi ward. He had joined BJP with Sharma before the 2017 assembly elections.
Anish Nag strikes gold in Palampur
While Poonam Bali, who was elected from Bharmat ward, was unanimously elected as mayor in the Palampur municipal corporation, Anish Nag has been elected as deputy mayor.
Nag, who was initially not even contesting the polls, was asked to file the nomination papers after the first candidate’s papers were rejected. He not only won the election but also grabbed a top spot!
Congress had swept the MC elections in Palampur winning 11 seats in a 15-member house. Two seats had been won by Independents.
Solan election deferred to April 16
Meanwhile, election to deputy mayor and mayor in the Solan municipal corporation was deferred to April 16 amid highvoltage drama.
The district administration had fixed 11am as the time for oath ceremony and election process. However, additional deputy commissioner (ADC) Anurag Chandra deferred the same after Congress councillors failed to turn up for over an hour.However, the Congress protested the decision.
Congress in-charge for the Solan MC election Rajinder Singh Rana termed it an attempt by BJP to influence the election. The ADC later returned to the venue and administered the oath to Congress members. However, the election would be held on April 16 as seven BJP councillors and one independent candidate did not take oath.