Giving a major setback to the Congress in Municipal Corporation elections, the BJP snatched the post of Jammu Mayor from it on March 6. It could not have been worse and that too at a time when the party is preparing for the Assembly elections scheduled to be held anytime this year.
BJP'ssecond time aspirant Kavinder Gupta became the Mayor of Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) by securing 37 votes compared to 34 to Congress candidate. The 71-member House has 27 corporators of the Congress, 25 of BJP, six of NC, nine-independents, two of People'sDemocratic Party (PDP) and one each of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Shiv Sena. Much to the discomfort of Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief Prof. Saif-ud-Din Soz, who were chairing a big party workers? meeting at Azad'sofficial banquet on that day.
While the victory of Kavinder Gupta is being viewed as a moral boost to the BJP and its cadre, it has given a setback to Congress and its leadership which till the last minutes was confident of Party'svictory.
The Congress had 27 members and enjoyed the support of three independents, two of the PDP, six of the NC and one of the BSP and the number totalled to 39.
To win by simple majority, a minimum of 36 votes were required but the results clearly show that party candidate lost due to cross-voting by the Congress corporators. Earlier, Azad had convened a meeting of Congress corporators and its allies, including some independent corporators, who had assured him that Congress candidate would emerge victorious.
BJP state president Ashok Khajuria, while addressing the media persons at the party headquarters, said the victory of Shri Gupta is the victory of honour and dignity of the Dogras. He said the Mayor'selection would have a definite impact on the coming Assembly elections in the State. He termed the election results as a morale booster for the BJP.
Sah Prabhari, J&K BJP, Sardar R.P. Singh, who was in touch with the state leadership for the last two weeks, said the people of the state as well as the elected representatives of the JMC had realised that the Congress and National Conference are the two sides of the same coin and their agenda had been to promote the cause of Kashmiri leaders and valley and ignore Jammu in all matters at all levels.
Former Union MoS and senior BJP leader Prof. Chaman Lal Gupta said the people have expressed faith in the ideology and principles of BJP and defeated the anti-Jammu and anti-Dogra forces. Shri Kavinder Gupta termed it a victory of nationalist forces. He has become the Jammu Mayor for the second time after he was elected in 2005.