Srinagar mayor Junaid Azim Mattu on Thursday said a no-confidence motion has been moved against him at the behest of the BJP, and asserted that he enjoyed majority in the municipal corporation and would take on the challenge democratically and legally.
Asked whether the BJP had submitted a no-confidence motion against the mayor, the BJP's media in-charge for Kashmir, Manzoor Bhat, said, "Yes.... Over 40 corporators have submitted the no-confidence motion."
He said the motion had the backing of 43 corporators — 27 affiliated with the BJP and the rest are either Independents or belong to other parties.
In a statement later, Bhat, however, said the party had only extended support to the Independent corporators who filed the motion.
The Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has 74 wards.
"Been informed that BJP has sought a ''Vote of No Confidence'' in the SMC against me. Those who have submitted the motion are either elected members/office bearers of BJP or unambiguously associated with BJP. This is the second such motion by BJP against me within 6 months," Mattu said.
In a series of tweets, the SMC mayor said the BJP-led group in the civic body has also claimed they have support from the Congress and the National Conference, but both these two parties have clearly denied that.
"The incumbent Dy. Mayor Parvaiz Ahmad Qadri has also denied these claims," he said.
Deputy Mayor Parvaiz Ahmad Qadri belongs to the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, but elections to the local body were held on non-party basis.
The National Conference, on its official Twitter handle, said the party has no understanding with the BJP.
"JKNC has no understanding, or inclination to have an understanding with BJP. Neither in SMC Srinagar nor elsewhere," the party said in a tweet.
Mattu said there are also apprehensions of forged signatures on affidavits of corporators as well as attempts to break the law that bars anyone from seeking a floor test within six months of the previous one.
"This is a repeat of what was attempted in SMC on 26th December, 2019," Mattu said.
The mayor said it was a travesty that something like that was being done in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"That this is being done in the MIDST of an unprecedented pandemic is another travesty. That it is being claimed and alleged that INC and BJP are on the same page is bizarre beyond comprehension and hints at some clear illegality and foul play," he said.
Mattu, who belongs to the Jammu and Kashmir People's Conference, said he would fight the motion democratically and legally and he was certain of proving his majority.
"We will fight this democratically and legally as this is yet another litmus test for the mainstream. This is the second such attempt in 6 months and we are certain of proving our majority and defeating this blatantly illegal, undemocratic maneuvering (sic)," he said.
In his statement, BJP leader Bhat said his party was not "directly" involved in filing the motion against Mattu.
"We had extended our support in favour of filing no-confidence motion against Mattu," Bhat said.
"Earlier, we had filed a no-confidence motion against the mayor, but this time Independent corporators led by former Deputy Mayor Shiekh Imran have filed the no-confidence motion against him," he said.
Bhat, however, said the BJP was always of the opinion that Mattu should be removed as there has been a "halt" in development work.
The corporators have understood that they were being "misled" in the name of development, the BJP leader said, adding, "Our party has always talked about development and will not tolerate anything except that."