When a necklace becomes a pain in the neck

By Jaideep Sarin

Chandigarh, Sep 29 (IANS) What started as a move to have a ceremonial necklace for the mayor of Chandigarh has turned out to be a pain in the neck for the municipal corporation here with local councillors striking a completely discordant note over the issue.

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The move by nominated councillor Kuldip Singh Chandpuri – a retired army brigadier and Maha Vir Chakra recipient on whose heroics the Bollywood blockbuster ‘Border’ was made nearly a decade back – was shot down Friday by elected councillors who termed the idea as “unnecessary and wasteful”.

Chandpuri may have won the battle against scores of Pakistani tanks in the desert of Longewala in Rajasthan but when it came to facing a few politicos, he had to withdraw his move for the ceremonial necklace.

To put things in perspective, Chandpuri even brought a ceremonial belt and necklace worn by Rotary Club presidents and governors to prove that the necklace proposal was not entirely out of place.

The proposal, based on similar necklaces being worn by mayors and sheriffs in Mumbai, many European countries and the US — to distinguish the mayor from the rest of the populace — did not find favour with a majority of the elected councillors.

The mayor Harjinder Kaur seemed supportive of the idea herself, but did not pursue it after it was vehemently opposed by councillors saying that the whole move was needless.

“We want development of Chandigarh and not a necklace. What is the use of discussing this unproductive work line by line when other development issues are there,” said senior deputy mayor and Congress councillor Ravinder Singh Pali.

Councillors also ridiculed the idea saying that the civic body did not have money for a necklace as development activities were more important.

“It is surprising that such an issue has been put on the agenda by the mayor while proposals for development of Chandigarh are neither on the agenda nor discussed,” said Congress councillor Devinder Singh Babla.

The Congress has the largest number of elected councillors in the corporation though the mayor is from the Akali Dal.

“We had suggested that the necklace could be either of gold or gold plated. The cost could be between Rs.5,000 and Rs.500,000. We never suggested that it should be studded with diamonds. It was to symbolise authority and was not to be a piece of jewellery,” Chandpuri said even as his proposal was defeated.

The written proposal however did say that the necklace should have 35 beads or diamonds – representing the 35 city councillors. It also proposed badges for councillors to give them a distinguishable identity.