JAMMU: Bharatiya Janata Party Corporator Rajinder Sharma was elected as new Mayor of Jammu Municipal Corporation on Friday, as Congress boycotted the election to the posts of mayor and deputy mayor of the JMC in protest against the “open ballot” voting process.
Rajinder Sharma has polled 57 votes, while Congress candidate Dwarka Nath Choudhary got one vote, sources said.
The BJP and the Congress were in a straight contest for the posts of mayor and deputy mayor. The Congress corporators boycotted the election in protest against the change of procedure of voting from secret ballot to open ballot.
“The change of procedure from secret voting to open ballot was undemocratic. It was not done in the past. In protest against this, our corporators have boycott the polling,” chief spokesperson of J&K Congress Ravinder Sharma said.
“Although we did not have the majority, we have put our candidates for the contest. But this undemocratic step has forced us to boycott it,” he said.
The BJP maintained that it had majority and its mayoral candidate won the election with a thumping majority.
“The election for the post of mayor has taken place. A total of 59 votes were polled — 57 went to BJP candidate Rajinder Sharma, one vote was declared invalid and one vote went to the Congress candidate,” BJP corporator Baldev Singh Billoria told reporters here.
He said the election to the post of deputy mayor started subsequently.
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 ongoing special summary revision of electoral rolls.
Two candidates each — Rajinder Sharma and Baldev Singh of the BJP and Dwarka Nath Choudhary and Sonika Sharma of the Congress — submitted their papers for the two posts on the last day of the filing of nominations on October 17, officials said.
In the 75-member Jammu Municipal Corporation, the BJP has 44 corporators, the Congress 13 corporators and the rest are Independents.
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.