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15 Congress councillors boycott mayoral election

Chandigarh, Jan 23

Fifteen Congress councillors today boycotted the election of their party colleague Karamjit Singh Rintu as the Amritsar mayor, prompting Punjab unit chief Sunil Jakhar to seek a report.

Jakhar has asked Punjab minister Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, who was the party observer for the mayoral election, and the Amritsar district Congress chief to submit a report within a day or two.

Jakhar said the “unpleasant” situation should have been avoided.

“I have asked Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa and the Amritsar Congress chief to send a report on why this has happened and what were the reasons behind it,” he told reporters here today.

In an embarrassment for the Congress, the 15 municipal councillors, known to be supporters of Punjab cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, boycotted the official programme of the election of the mayor.

They said they stayed away from the programme because Sidhu was not invited to programme.

Talking to media in Amritsar, one of the councillors, who won civic polls from the wards falling under the Amritsar (East) Assembly constituency being represented by Sidhu, further said, “The cabinet minister was deliberately ignored.”

“It should have been avoided. We have got a Mayor after several years,” stressed Jakhar.

Asked whether he spoke to or met Sidhu who was miffed at not being invited for today’s function, Jakhar said Bajwa had gone to meet Sidhu in Amritsar.

Punjab Local Bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who is an MLA from Amritsar (East), was conspicuous by his absence.

Yesterday, apparently miffed over not being invited for the Amritsar mayoral election, Sidhu had said he never goes anywhere uninvited “except the Golden Temple or Durgiana Temple”.

Karamjit Singh Rintu was today unanimously elected as Amritsar’s Mayor after a meeting of municipal Councillors in the presence of Cabinet minister Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa here.

Besides Rintu, Raman Bakshi was elected as senior deputy mayor and Younis Kumar as deputy mayor for the holy city.

In the 85-member civic body, the Congress has 64 councillors, the SAD-BJP 15 and six are Independents.