Amidst the ongoing crisis in the Congress, Subhash Chawla, the party’s Chandigarh unit president, resigned on Saturday and has remained silent on the cause.
The two-time mayor, who was appointed in the run-up to the Municipal Corporation (MC) election in February 2021, has been in the line of fire since the party lost its newly-entered AAP and failed to secure a second seat. The BJP has been captured.
“I have submitted my resignation to the party’s High Command,” Chawla confirmed, explaining the reasons, adding that he would be briefing soon. Harish Chaudhary, in charge of the party’s Chandigarh affairs, was not available for comment.
Chawla, who is considered to be the home of former railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, resigned from Ward 20 congress councilor Gurcharan Jeet Singh Kala, who resigned three days after joining the BJP on Wednesday.
With Kala’s move, the BJP’s strength in the MC House increased to 14 AAP’s, while the Congress’s strength dropped to six. Prior to the December 2021 election, Congress, the main opposition party in the MC, could only secure 8 out of 35 seats.
After a public altercation with Chawla, Harpreet Kaur Babla’s husband, former Congress councilor Devinder Singh Babla, joined the BJP and its numbers soon dwindled.
After the election, Babla, Hermohinder Singh Lucky and Youth Congress President Manoj Lubana were the party’s top leadership in its defeat. Allegations that the poor selection of candidates and Chawla did not “put enough effort” in the party’s campaign. His son Sumit Chawla also lost the election.
Chawla, who is soft-spoken and often referred to as a “politician of the outfit”, was a clear choice for the presidency due to his grip on MC politics and his proximity to Bansal. Now, however, a section of Congress says they have been asked to resign to pave the way for young blood. However, his close friends say that the party has made a conscious decision in the interests of the party.
After his appointment, his predecessor, Pardeep Chhabra, joined the AAP along with some leaders while blaming Bansal. The party was unable to recover from the damage that followed and ultimately lost to the AAP and the BJP in the elections.
This is the second consecutive defeat since Bansal lost to BJP’s Kiran Kher in the two MP elections in 2014 and 2019. Party insiders say the AAP’s admission has worsened the party’s future and it has to start from scratch to win the 2024 parliamentary election.