The Congress suffered a major setback in the Chandigarh municipal polls ahead of the crucial Assembly elections in the state as the AAP emerged as the single largest party followed by the BJP

CHANDIGARH — The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday won most seats in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation polls on its debut.

The ruling BJP’s Mayor, Ravi Kant Sharma, and two former Mayors, Davesh Moudgil and Rajesh Kalia, faced humiliating defeats.

Of the total 35 seats, AAP managed to win 14, followed by BJP (12), Congress (8) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (1).

The polling, which saw 60 per cent voter turnout, was held on December 24.

Former Mayor Moudgil, who was allotted ticket at the last moment on the intervention of former MP Satya Pal Jain, lost to AAP’s Jasbir Singh Laddi by 939 votes in Ward 21.

Moudgil was facing anti-incumbency factor owing to lack of development works in his ward. He was also facing opposition from the party leadership in the city due to his insubordination while at the helm.

Sitting Mayor Sharma lost his seat to Damanpreet Singh from Ward 17 by a margin of 828 votes.

Gurpeet Singh of the Congress won by nine votes in Ward 34, while Harpreet Kaur Babla, wife of leader of opposition Devinder Singh Babla, won by 3,103 votes in Ward 10, the highest winning margin so far.

Sarbajit Kaur of the BJP won by 502 votes in Ward 6, SAD’s Hardeep Singh won by 2,145 votes in Ward 30, while former Congress Mayor Kamlesh also faced defeat.

Chandigarh Congress President Subhash Chawla’s son Sumit Chawla also lost. BJP President Arun Sood’s seat, from where the party’s Vijay Rana contested also lost.

AAP’s election campaign committee chairman Chandermukhi Sharma also lost his seat.

Before the elections, the AAP had promised free 20,000 litre water per month per house, free public parking lots, free door-to-door waste collection, free primary education and mohalla clinics.

Responding to the results, AAP leader Raghav Chadha said it is a “victory of Kejriwal’s model of governance as people were yearning for a change for years.”

The BJP had swept the last civic body polls, winning 20 of 26 wards. Chandigarh had 26 seats in the previous civic elections.