Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa on Sunday appealed to the people to hand out a crushing defeat to the "opportunistic" Akali Dal-BJP alliance in the upcoming civic polls in the state.
"The Congress will aggressively confront the Akali Dal- BJP combine by taking up issues concerning the people at every level," he said in a statement here.
Referring to the recently imposed property tax, he said it was "irrational and unnecessary burden on the people" and affected "every section of the society in urban areas".
He said in the name of development, the cities and towns bear "potholed roads with a big chunk of the population being denied even basic amenities."
"Every day pictures appeared in the media about sewerage flowing in the streets making lives of the people miserable. The government was just apathetic to the quality of life of the people. The situation was the worst for the lowest strata of society and those living in slums," he alleged.
"However, Akali Dal leaders like deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal who talked of taking the state to higher tangent of development, have failed to see the situation on the ground. The people cannot be misled by such slogans that have failed to get translated into reality," Bajwa said.
The Congress leader said BJP was trying to wriggle out of the anti-incumbency faced by the Parkash Singh Badal-led state government, but it would not be of much help.
"The irony of the (SAD ally) BJP is that the department of local bodies was with the (saffron) party but it had been trying to pass on its failure to manage the civic affairs on to the other partner (SAD)," Bajwa said.
Elections to six municipal corporations - Moga, Phagwara, Pathankot, SAS Nagar, Hoshiarpur and Bathinda, and by-election to one ward of Jalandhar Municipal Corporation and two wards of Patiala Corporation are scheduled for February 22.
Elections to elect members to 123 municipal councils/ nagar panchayats and by-elections to one ward of Bariwala Nagar Panchayat in Sri Muktsar Sahib District are scheduled for February 25.