Panchkula House ruckus: Cong, JJP accuse BJP of working in autocratic manner a day after, Mayor hits back

As many as 27 tabled agendas were passed in a hurry on Friday, despite protests by the Congress councillors.

Councillors of Jannayak Janta Party (JJP), and Congress of Panchkula Municipal Corporation held individual press conferences on Saturday, a day after members of both the parties almost came to blows with their BJP counterparts during the general house meeting of the civic body over the issue of paid parking in markets.

The JJP, despite being the coalition partner of the BJP in Harayna, termed the paid parking made at Sector 20 as ‘politically motivated and rigged’. The Congress has termed BJP’s functioning as autocratic, while stating “they could very well pass their own agendas by themselves instead of wasting public money and calling meetings when they anyway have to do what they wish.”

As many as 27 tabled agendas were passed in a hurry on Friday, despite protests by the Congress councillors. All agendas had been declared passed by BJP Mayor, Kulbhushan Goyal, a claim which has been contested by the Congress councillors as well those from the JJP. Of the 20 council seats, 10 are represented by BJP members, 7 have Congress representatives, and 2 have JJP electives. One seat is occupied by an independent councillor.

JJP Panchkula urban district President, OP Sihag, as well as the party’s rural Pradhan, Bhag Singh Damdama, along with Ward 14 Councilor, Sushil Garg, organised a press conference at Panchkula Sector 1 Rest House on Saturday to elaborate on Saturday’s ruckus during the municipal meeting. Speaking during the press conference, Sihag said that paid parking, which has been started by the Municipal Corporation in the markets of Sector 14 and 20, should be rolled back with immediate effect. “It has been set up deliberately as part of a political conspiracy. No specific proposal regarding the implementation of paid parking by the Municipal Corporation Panchkula in the market of the above sectors was passed in the meeting. According to rules, this issue should first be discussed in the House meeting, before being passed and implemented.”

Congress councillors, on their part, too alleged that “the decisions of the civic body were being passed in sub-committees, which were only made to study the subject and make a rough draft of policies which will be presented and passed in full House.”

Salim Dabkouri, councillor of Congress from ward 20, while speaking at a second press conference during Saturday said that the BJP was “drunk on power”. He said, “When they were passing agendas without our approval, I told MLA, Gian Chand Gupta, that the BJP can just pass the agendas from their own homes. The pride can be seen by the reply which he gave me. He said ‘Yes, we very well can. We enjoy a majority in the house’. Why do they have to pretend to call a meeting then and waste the public money?” he questioned.

Councillors of both the Congress and the JJP alleged that the BJP is working in an opaque manner in all matters pertaining to the civic body. “Even the agendas that are set for House meeting are not decided unanimously but by the Mayor himself. How do we represent our ward if we do not get a say in the agendas being passed? Ideally, a pre-house meeting is held where agendas are taken from each ward for a full representation of the constituency,” said Akshaydeep Chaudhary, Congress councillor from ward 17.

Responding to these allegations, Mayor, Kulbhushan Goyal, issuing a press statement and said, “Development of the city is the main objective of BJP. With the blessings of Haryana Chief Minister, Manohar Lal Khattar, and Speaker, Gian Chand Gupta, work is being done at a brisk pace in Panchkula. We have not come here for doing politics, but for development. In the last 10 months, a lot of work has been done for the development of the city, which is being appreciated by the public. The pace of development in Panchkula will not be allowed to slow down under any circumstances. The Opposition is protesting on issues only to do politics. But we will focus on working and solving the problems of residents of the city. Various issues were to be discussed in Friday’s meeting as well, but the Opposition councillors spoiled the atmosphere of the meeting and did not allow a single issue of development of the city to be discussed.”

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