BJP Moves No-Confidence Motion On Mayor Junaid Mattu in Kashmir

Deputy Mayor Sheikh Imran, also from the PC, had tendered his resignation on Tuesday, 24 December.

3 min read
Deputy Mayor Sheikh Imran, also from the PC, had tendered his resignation on Tuesday, 24 December.

Severing its five-year-long relationship with former ally Sajjad Lone's Peoples Conference (PC) in the politically turbulent Jammu and Kashmir, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has moved a no-confidence motion to bring down Junaid Azim Mattu and install its own Mayor in Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC).

Knowledgeable sources said that the BJP, which has only four councillors in the House of 74, has moved the motion with the support of 36 councillors, most of them reportedly independent. Even as the motion has been fixed for voting on Friday next, Deputy Mayor Sheikh Imran, also from the PC, has tendered his resignation on Tuesday, 24 December.

Commissioner SMC Khursheed Ahmad Sanai confirmed to The Quint that a BJP-sponsored motion of no confidence has been filed on Tuesday against Mayor Mattu. He said that the motion is claimed to be signed and supported by 40 councillors. However, late in the afternoon, some councillors have reportedly submitted applications claiming that they had not signed or supported the motion.

“We are currently scrutinising the claims and the counter-claims along with the documents. Under law, we are bound to hold voting on the motion within 48 hours of its submission. We have accordingly fixed 27 December as the day of voting on the motion.”
Khursheed Ahmad Sanai, SMC Commissioner.

Sanai confirmed that Deputy Mayor Sheikh Imran had tendered his resignation even as another No Confidence Motion had been received against him a few days back which was about to be put to vote.

Both Lone & Imran Under Detention

In the first urban local body elections after 2005 in 2018, PC's Mattu had been elected as Mayor and Sheikh Imran, then Independent, as Deputy Mayor in last November. However, subsequently Imran too, had joined the PC.

While as the PC Chairman and former Cabinet Minister in the BJP-PC-PDP Government, Sajjad Lone, has been under detention, Sheikh Imran is among the 30-odd mainstream politicians who had been detained around abrogation of Article 370 and 35-A on 5 August and are still in jail. Both Sajad Lone and Sheikh Imran are currently lodged in MLAs Hostel Srinagar which has been designated as a subsidiary jail.

After being under house arrest for some days in August, Mattu was released reportedly on health grounds. He has curtailed his political activity and has been shuttling between Srinagar, New Delhi and Mumbai in connection with his treatment.

As BJP had won 4 seats, its strength has risen to 11, as 7 of the Independent councillors have joined this party recently. 17 councillors are affiliated to Congress, 15 to PC and 11 to NC. Still there are 16 Independent councillors in the House which has 4 seats vacant.

Left ‘Alone’ After Stand on 370

Significantly, it is for the first time that the BJP has publicly acted against its only pre-poll ally in the 2014 Assembly elections when Sajjad Lone's PC had won two seats, both from Kupwara district. On account of the PC's support BJP had installed Lone as a minister in late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's as well as Mehbooba Mufti's Cabinet from its own quota of ministers in the coalition.

Relations between the BJP and the PC are said to have turned sour when Sajjad Lone jumped on the PDP-NC bandwagon against abrogation of Articles 370 and 35-A and disintegration of Jammu and Kashmir into the two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh in August this year.

Meanwhile, sources said, BJP leadership in Jammu held a series of deliberations over the two no-confidence motions in SMC in Jammu on Monday and Tuesday. Commissioner-Secretary Housing & Urban Development Dheeraj Gupta has reportedly called Commissioner SMC for a discussion on the developments in the key civic body in summer capital.

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