Eye on next Assembly polls: Mayor and deputy mayor of BJP-ruled JMC resign
Jammu: In a sudden development, Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) mayor Chander Mohan Gupta and his deputy Purnima Sharma on Saturday submitted their resignations to focus on strengthening the BJP to have the “first Dogra chief minister” in the Union Territory.
The resignations came following a meeting of BJP corporators and senior leaders chaired by party’s Jammu and Kashmir unit president Ravinder Raina here.
Gupta said they decided to resign keeping in mind the next Assembly elections and the target of 50-plus seats set by the party to have the “first Dogra chief minister” in J and K.
“BJP is the world’s largest political party and has expanded to every nook and corner of J-K. Since the Assembly elections are taking place, we have set a target to form the next government after the abrogation of Article 370 (in August 2019).
“Every BJP worker has to work hard to create history by having the first Dogra chief minister,” he told reporters after putting up his papers.
The Assembly elections will be held in Jammu and Kashmir after the final electoral roll is published, which is scheduled to take place on November 25. The erstwhile state has been with out an Assembly since 2018. The Centre had on August 5, 2019, ended Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and downgraded it to a Union territory.
The opposition corporators termed the resignations of Gupta and Sharma as their “victory” and said their long pending demand was fulfilled.
“The entire opposition was demanding the resignation of the mayor and deputy mayor for the past several years because of their failure to run the JMC smoothly,” corporator Gaurav Gupta, a former member of the Congress, said.
He said the BJP-led corporation failed to live up to the expectations of the people due to “inefficiency” of the mayor and his team.
“Both of them were facing strong resentment even from BJP corporators and their sudden resignation was the outcome of internal bickering within the party,” he claimed.
Expressing similar views, independent corporators Sobat Ali and Amit Gupta demanded free and fair elections for the post of the mayor and the deputy mayor as per the rules.
Talking about his resignation, Chander Mohan Gupta said he has no greed for any post and would fulfill the assigned responsibilities anywhere in Jammu and Kashmir with “dedication and devotion”.
Expressing satisfaction over the functioning of the JMC under his mayorship, he said a number of developmental projects were completed and many more are nearing completion.
“The work on many languishing projects like artificial pondage (lake) in Tawi river is going on in full swing and will be completed on time,” Gupta said.
Earlier, J-K BJP chief Raina said both Gupta and Sharma resigned voluntarily and expressed their desire to work for strengthening the party.
He said the meeting lauded the role of the two during the past four years, especially in implementation of developmental works under the Jammu Smart City projects.
“The party will decide the name of the next mayor and the deputy mayor in consultation with the corporators,” Raina told reporters after the joint meeting of the party corporators and leaders.
A BJP leader said a meeting of the corporators and senior leaders has been convened at the party headquarters on Sunday to reach a consensus on the name of the new mayor and the deputy mayor.
BJP national general secretary and in-charge J and K Tarun Chugh is also attending the meeting, he said, adding the names of the new mayor and the deputy mayor are likely to be announced on Sunday evening.
Gupta and Sharma took over their respective posts on November 15, 2018, after the BJP swept the prestigious JMC, winning 43 out of the 75 wards. The urban local bodies elections were held in four phases from October 8-16 in 2018 after a gap of 13 years.
The leader said the BJP had initially decided to change the mayor and his deputy after they complete their half terms. However, due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, the party decided to continue with both of them, he added.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah will be on a three-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir from September 30 where he is planned to pay obeisance to the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, address two rallies and review developmental activities, party leaders said on Saturday.
J-K BJP general secretary and former minister Sunil Sharma told a press conference here that the visit should not be linked to yet-to-be announced Assembly polls, even though a senior leader said on the condition of anonymity the “rallies will be the beginning of the BJP’s election campaign”.