The differences between the two Akali factions - the Joginder Pal Jain group and the Tota Singh group -- are likely to affect the prospects of Akali candidates in the Moga municipal corporation elections to be held on Sunday.
SAD MLA Joginder Pal Jain and his son Akshit Jain, and state agriculture minister Tota Singh and his son Barjinder Singh Brar are at loggerheads.
Moga became a corporation in 2012 and is having MC elections for the first time. It being a traditional Akali seat has made these factions the centre of power.
The expulsion of 23 SAD rebels, who having been denied the ticket decided to contest as independents against the party's candidates, was initially seen as the right step. But three days later, Barjinder Brar and Joginder Jain were locked in a spat over "misappropriation" of funds amounting to Rs 10 crore. Jain had levelled allegations against Brar at a public meeting that further increased the divide in the warring factions. In retaliation, Barjinder allegedly instigated the voters not to vote for Jain's candidates.
The tension between the Jain and Tota Singh camps has reached such an extent that people fear "capturing" of sensitive booths.
The scenario is also not favourable as far as the SAD-BJP alliance is concerned as none of the SAD leaders were seen campaigning in favour of the BJP candidates and vice-versa. Senior SAD leaders have apparently told party workers to ensure the defeat of the BJP candidates in the MC elections.
Dwarkanath Bansal, a local, said, "None of the political parties are concerned about the issues to be addressed as the MC elections are just a medium for political leaders to prove their mettle against one another. The real purpose behind the elections has taken a backseat, but looking at the mood of the electorate it seems the candidates who have the potential to deliver will win."
The major issues are the stray cattle menace that leads to traffic disruptions and accidents, mismanaged traffic, improper garbage disposal, faulty sewerage system and broken roads, which the locals want the new MC house to address.
Though an SI/ASI has been deputed on each of the sensitive booths with seven cops in addition to the four DSPs to oversee all 14 booths, people feel there should be more cops.
Total wards: 50
General wards: 23
Reserved for women: 13
Reserved for SC: 8
Reserved for SC women: 4
Reserved for BC: 2
Voters under Moga MC: 1,11,784
Men voters: 58, 415
Women voters: 63,369
Candidates left in the fray: 230
Total number of booths: 102
Sensitive booths: 14
Cops deployed: 1,026
Polling staff: 475