After registering a thumping majority in the just-concluded elections to Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC), hectic lobbying has begun within the BJP for the coveted posts of Mayor and Deputy Mayor as contenders are cozying up to senior party leaders to brighten their prospects.
The top leadership of the BJP, however, said it was deliberating upon the names of all probable candidates for the two posts, and a final decision would be taken by the end of the week.
Party sources said the names of around a half-dozen senior party leaders who have been elected to the JMC were doing the rounds.
The sources said the leaders in the race for the two posts include Chander Mohan Gupta, the party treasurer who won the civic bodies poll for the second time, Pramod Kapahi, state vice-president of the party, Baldev Singh Ballowria, district president, Jammu, Purnima Sharma, former state president of Mahila Morcha, and Pawan Singh, who got the highest number of votes and also a second-time winner.
“The party is likely to finalise the names for both the coveted posts by the end of this week,” a senior party leader said while declining to be named.
“Chander Mohan Gupta, a confidant of general secretary (organisation) Ashok Koul and second-time winner to the JMC, is the front-runner for the post of Mayor while the party is seriously considering the name of Purnima Sharma for the post of Deputy Mayor,” added the senior leader.
The BJP emerged as the single largest party by winning 43 of the 75 seats in the JMC. The Congress won 14 seats while Independents stood in the second place with 18 seats.
This is for the first time that a party has got a clear majority in the municipal corporation. In the 2005 civic elections, held were after a gap of 23 years, the Congress had emerged as the single largest party with 27 seats in the 72-member House while the BJP had won only 25 seats. In the 1981-82 elections, the Janata Party had emerged as the single largest party.
The 75 wards of the JMC had witnessed 61.92 per cent voting in the recent elections. As many as 447 candidates were in the fray to elect corporators after 13 years. Of the 4,00,283 voters, 2,47,885 had exercised their franchise.