February 26, 2017 3:29:28 am
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has decided to contest civic polls in Punjab scheduled later this year “irrespective of Assembly elections results”. The largest Municipal Corporations in five cities of Punjab — Ludhiana, Amritsar, Bathinda, Patiala and Jalandhar — would be going to polls this year. A meeting to discuss AAP participation in Punjab civic polls was held in Delhi Saturday evening and chaired by AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal. From the Punjab leadership, the meeting was attended by state convenor Gurpreet Singh Ghuggi and Punjab affairs in-charge Sanjay Singh.
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Speaking to The Indian Express, Ghuggi said, “It has been unanimously decided that AAP would be contesting civic polls in Punjab. Most probably, we will be contesting in all the cities where MC polls are due this year. The matter was taken up during meeting today with Kejriwal ji and he has also responded positively. Once Delhi MC polls are over, we will soon start work on details of Punjab civic polls.”
Asked if decision to contest civic polls will be dependent on state Assembly results due to March 11, Ghuggi said, “We will be contesting civic polls irrespective of state Assembly results.”
AAP senior leader and Dakha candidate HS Phoolka said the party’s decision to contest civic polls in Punjab was a right one. “I personally held this view that whatever state results are, we should contest MC elections. It is at the local level that actual change in governance begins and AAP should spearhead it. I recommend and completely stand by this decision. The state results should not affect this decision at all,” he said.
AAP Punjab co-observer Jarnail Singh said that party is currently focusing on Delhi Municipal Corporation elections. “In my view, AAP must contest civic polls in Punjab. Currently, we are all ready for Delhi MC polls.”
Currently, the SAD-BJP alliance is in power in all five Municipal Corporations. Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria (SAD), Bakshi Ram Arora (BJP), Amaninder Bajaj (SAD), Sunil Jyoti (BJP) and Balwant Rai Nath (SAD) are current Mayors of Ludhiana, Amritsar, Patiala, Jalandhar and Bathinda, respectively.
The five MCs in Punjab complete their term in August this year but it is expected that Municipal Corporation (MC) polls would be announced just after a new government is formed.
In 2012, when SAD-BJP won its second term, MC polls were immediately announced in May but Mayors took oaths in August only when term was completed.
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