Five months after being removed by a no-confidence motion, Junaid Azim Mattu was again elected as Srinagar Mayor on Wednesday.
Mattu bagged 44 votes out of total 51 cast. The voting was held through an open ballot system and 10 Congress corporators went against the party whip.
The polls were scheduled to commence at 11 am. However, amid chaos and protests by some corporators, the polls started around 1 pm. Three candidates were in fray but Congress candidate Ajaz Rasool withdrew his nomination during the session.
Deputy Mayor Parvaiz Qadri objected to the mayoral polls and registered a protest soon after the corporators assembled inside the hall.
He was demanding revocation of election notification, saying: “The issuance of election notification was not approved by me as was required under rules. Those who issued this notification have no such powers or authority.”
Qadri was joined by some other corporators. They were also demanding the whip issued by Congress to its corporators must be “properly announced and implemented.”
The Congress had issued a whip to its corporators to remain present and vote in favour of Sheikh Imran.
Amid the chaos, the polls started at 1 pm with 51 corporators present and voting while 19 abstained.
“Junaid Mattu bagged 44 votes and Sheikh Imran 7. 19 corporators abstained from voting,” SMC Secretary Akbar Sofi confirmed to the Greater Kashmir.
Congress said that it will initiate action against corporators going against party whip.
“Our 10 corporators have gone against party whip. A disciplinary action would be taken against them. They can also face disqualification,” said Basharat Bin Qadir, a Congress leader who was authorized by party high command to issue the whip.
However, the 10 corporators who voted against party whip had already moved an application before competent authority informing it about “splitting” the party; escaping the Anti-Defection Law. Congress has 16 candidates in the SMC.
Mattu thanked the SMC administration for “holding free and fair election.”
“Some councilors including the incumbent Deputy Mayor created chaos and resorted to violence due to which the election process was delayed by two hours. They used force to attack SMC officials and others. Police had to intervene. We all know who was behind this violence,” he said.
On June 16 this year, Mattu was removed as Srinagar Mayor after he lost the no-confidence motion.