A rickshaw-puller was roaming in the city with a loud speaker who appealed to the residents to vote for SAD-BJP candidate Mohammed Owais, through a song. The lyrics were, “Mittro Owais varga candidate nahio labhna” (Friends, one can’t find a perfect candidate like Owais) with the favourite word of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ‘Mittro’ being repeated, albeit there was no picture of Modi on the poster being displayed on the rickshaw.
The posters and hoardings of the SAD-BJP candidate in the region of Malerkotla do not have the Prime Minister’s picture in the Muslim-dominated constituency; BJP state leadership is also missing on the campaign material in Malerkotla.
The party office hoardings have been designed with the pictures of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal, Rajya Sabha member Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa along with finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa.
The princely state Malerkotla is situated between Sangrur and Ludhiana and there are 1,47,020 voters in the segment and a large number of voters are Muslim. All three prominent parties, SAD-BJP (Mohammed Owais), Congress (Razia Sultana) and Aam Aadmi Party (Arshad Dali) have fielded Muslim members for their campaigning.
Although, other parties are considering the SAD-BJP to be on the back foot in the city, they are not directly commenting on the issue of posters, so as to not alienate Hindu voters in the region. Despite the fact that the Modi wave was blowing in the entire country in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, his posters were also missing from SAD-BJP candidate Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa’s hoardings in the area.
However, the SAD-BJP candidate refuted the argument and said that pictures are being pasted on posters and hoardings in the city. “We are using the PM’s picture along with other BJP leaders on our campaign material,” said, Owais.
At present, the PM is addressing election rallies in Punjab. On Friday, he addressed a rally in Jalandhar and will be address a rally at Kotkapura on Sunday.