Jammu: Amid the boycott of the election by the Congress party, Bhartiya Janata Party’s Corporator from ward number 16, New Plot Jammu, Rajinder Sharma was on Friday elected as the new Mayor of Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC).
Sharma defeated Congress’ Dwarka Nath Choudhary, who got only one vote as his party decided to stay away from the polling to protest the open ballot system, which was adopted by JMC for the election of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor.
In the house of 75 members, a total of 59 votes were polled for the mayor election. Sharma polled 57 votes, and Choudhary polled only one vote. One vote was rejected. For Deputy Mayor’s post, of a total of 58 votes polled, BJP’s Baldev Singh Baloria got 56 votes while two votes were rejected. No vote was polled for Congress’ Sonika Sharma.
JMC Commissioner Rahul Yadav informed that Rajinder Sharma was elected as mayor and Baldev Singh as deputy mayor.
Pertinently, in the 75 members’ corporation, there are 73 corporators and two of them have passed away.
The strength of BJP corporators in the corporation is 44 while Congress has 13 corporators and the rest of them are independents.
The Congress party which has 13 corporators in the Jammu Municipal Corporation, boycotted the polls against the open ballot system of polling.
Addressing media persons on the premises of Jammu Municipal Corporation, Congress’ Mayor candidate Dwarka Nath Choudhary said: “We’ve decided to boycott the polls against BJP’s move of conducting elections through open ballot system of polling”.
“Last time, the polls were conducted through a secret ballot system. But since BJP leadership was worried about cross-voting by its corporators as it happened in Udhampur and Kathua, the party deliberately amended the laid down law and changed the system of polling to a ballot system. This is undemocratic,” he said.
“If the polls would have been conducted through a secret ballot system, we could have won both Mayor and Deputy Mayor posts,” he added.
Congress party’s Chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said, “Although we did not have the majority, we put up candidates for the contest. The change of procedure from secret voting to open ballot was undemocratic. It had not been done in the past. This undemocratic step forced us to boycott it."
Soon after the elections were over, BJP State President Ravinder Raina congratulated the winners.
Addressing media persons, Raina said that the landslide victory of BJP candidates in the Mayor and Deputy Mayor polls is an indication that people love Bhartiya Janata Party.
“These polls are an indication that BJP is an indomitable force in the Jammu region. We’re pretty sure that in the coming Assembly polls, BJP will form a government on its own in Jammu and Kashmir,” Raina said, adding, "next Chief Minister would be from BJP".
Replying to a question about Congress’ boycott of the JMC polls, he said, “Congress party has been completely decimated in the country. As such, there is no fun discussing this party”.
Meanwhile, Ravinder Raina congratulated all the corporators, especially the independent corporators.
Earlier, the posts fell vacant last month following the resignation of incumbent mayor Chander Mohan Gupta and his deputy Purnima Sharma, both from the BJP, to focus on strengthening the party ahead of the assembly elections scheduled to take place after the conclusion of the ongoing special summary revision of electoral rolls.
Chander Mohan Gupta and Purnima Sharma took over their respective posts on November 15, 2018, after the BJP won the civic body during the Urban Local Bodies elections which were held in four phases from October 8-16 in 2018 after a gap of 13 years.