BJP-Chandigarh Situation: Cronyism And Corruption In City Beautiful

New Delhi: The recent mayoral elections in Chandigarh have become the latest controversy dividing the people. The elections exposed the shady underbelly of politics in the Union Territory—bringing to light allegations of corruption and disregard for democratic norms by the ruling BJP.


The drama unfolded when the Aam Aadmi Party presented CCTV footage from the polling booth, purportedly showing the BJP Presiding Officer tampering with the ballot papers and invalidating votes cast in favor of the AAP candidate. The shocking visuals show the officer casually tearing ballot papers, glancing at the camera now and then in what seems like an attempt to conceal his actions.





The incident invoked strong condemnation from the Supreme Court, which reprimanded the Presiding Officer and called out the ‘mockery and murder of democracy’. The court’s scathing observations vindicated AAP’s long-standing accusation that the BJP was engaging in unfair practices to win the Chandigarh municipal polls.


This episode has once again brought focus to the BJP’s questionable track record in Chandigarh, where it has ruled the municipal body for the past 15 years. Critics have accused the party of turning the planned City Beautiful into a hotbed of cronyism, where civic amenities and administration are often compromised to favor allies and funding interests.



Also Read: 4 Fantastic Ways Ram Mandir Can Boost The Local Economy



The BJP’s prolonged rule in Chandigarh is marked by numerous allegations of quid pro quo within the municipal corporation, be it controversial appointments, suspicious contracts for civic works, or preferential allotment of prime commercial and residential properties.


The party has also been accused of horse-trading and use of money power to lure winning candidates from other parties to defect and join the BJP. This was most blatantly witnessed during the last municipal polls in 2016 when 4 winning candidates from the Congress joined the BJP soon after results were declared.


Analysts note that the BJP has perfected the art of retaining power in Chandigarh through less-than-ethical means. Critics say the party keeps smaller players like the Shiromani Akali Dal and the BSP in good humor by promising them strategic positions in the civic body’s power structure.


The BJP’s longevity in Chandigarh municipal politics indicates that the party has mastered the tactic of keeping corporators happy through lucrative contracts, permits, and licenses required for real estate development and other business ventures in the city.


However, experts believe this cronyistic setup has taken a heavy toll on the Union Territory’s civic infrastructure and administration. Chandigarh residents routinely complain of substandard quality of roads, sanitation services, parking management, and maintenance of public parks – issues that directly fall under the municipal corporation’s purview.


There are also growing concerns over the BJP’s proposed initiatives for Chandigarh, including the imposition of heavy penalties on traffic violations and increased rates for water and electricity. Residents fear that such steps are aimed at benefitting corporators’ contractor lobbies rather than improving civic facilities.





The latest mayoral election controversy has reinforced accusations that the BJP maintains its stranglehold over Chandigarh through betraying democratic values and misusing official machinery. The brazen manner in which the Presiding Officer manipulated ballot papers while under CCTV surveillance is indicative of the impunity with which the saffron party operates.


The episode has dented the BJP’s self-cultivated image of an honest, incorruptible political force. It has also sullied Chandigarh’s reputation as an exceptionally well-planned city, highlighting how partisan civic politics and governance can undermine the character of a city.


As the Supreme Court takes stock of the murky developments leading up to the mayoral polls, Chandigarh now stares at an uncertain future. The need of the hour is to extricate the City Beautiful from the clutches of cronyism, re-instill faith in transparent governance, and restore the core values that Chandigarh’s conception was based on.


This comes at an inopportune time for the BJP in the backdrop of state elections later this year. With opposition parties already targeting the ruling party over issues like unemployment, inflation, and the agricultural crisis, the Chandigarh embarrassment gives more ammunition to step up attacks.



It remains to be seen if the BJP takes corrective steps to restore its legitimacy in Chandigarh or if it chooses to brazen out the controversy with more strong-arm tactics. However, one thing is clear – cronyism and corruption have no place in the City Beautiful. For its good image, the BJP needs to do some sincere soul-searching and overhaul its Chandigarh unit. Cosmetic measures will no longer suffice to mask the rot that has set in after 15 years of unchecked rule.


Scroll to Top