Litmus test for Amarinder as Patiala mayor faces no-confidence motion backed by govt

Aman Sood

Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 25

Former Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh will lead his close team of Congress councillors who have sided with him against the Congress government’s diktat of removing incumbent Patiala Mayor Sanjeev Sharma Bittu, here on Thursday evening.

A former Congressman, Amarinder, has floated his own party and has announced to fight the polls from his home constituency of Patiala.

Considered his first show of power since he resigned, he will lead his team of Congressmen from Patiala to vote against the Congress government backed no-confidence motion against the mayor. The developments come a day after Patiala MP Preneet Kaur, who is Amarinder’s wife, was issued a showcause notice by the Punjab Congress for “anti-party activities”.

Political observers say this is the first face-off since Amarinder left the party following which the cadre in the royal bastion is divided. With Amarinder announcing to contest from Patiala, these developments hold significance.

Meanwhile, the government has assigned two senior ministers to ensure that the process of no-confidence against the Amarinder-backed mayor goes on smoothly. In addition, Local Bodies Minister Brahm Mohindra is also in the city to oppose the Amarinder camp.

Sources say senior police officers are camping in the corporation since morning to ensure no untoward incident takes place. Home Minister Sukhjinder Randhawa is looking into the no-confidence process whereas Amarinder has warned against any possible action against his close team.

A few ‘rebel’ councillors of over 40 wards, backed by top Congress leaders, submitted a no-confidence motion against the mayor and demanded that a meeting of the general House be called.

Last week, ‘rebel’ councillors held a meeting with Congress general secretary Harish Chaudhary and minister Brahm Mohindra in Chandigarh. A parallel meeting was held at MP Preneet Kaur’s New Moti Bagh Palace residence, where 18 councillors were present. Bittu, who wants to contest from Patiala (rural), a constituency represented by Mohindra, has accepted the challenge to prove his majority.

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