As Punjab heads for civic polls in February, one can’t tell friends from foes. While on the one hand warring factions within the Shiromani Akali Dal, Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress are “fixing” friendly matches with rivals in some of the municipal corporations and councils. Some candidates, to be able to garner more votes, are shying away from contesting on their party symbol.
In the fight between BJP factions in Hoshiarpur, the advantage is to the People’s Party of Punjab (PPP). The tussle between former BJP minister Tikshan Sud and Rajya Sabha MP Avinash Rai Khanna has the latter supporting Manpreet Badal’s PPP, which is contesting 12 of the 50 wards in the municipal corporation.
The council has been upgraded to a corporation and the number of wards increased from 31 to 50, thereby also increasing the number of BJP-dominated wards.
In the Faridkot muncipal council, a candidate contesting on party symbol from the ward of SAD MLA Deep Malhotra is banking on support of the Congress to tackle the anti-incumbency against the ruling party.
Avoiding party symbols is seen here. Even office-bearers such as the block president of Congress in Kotkapura, Pradeep Chopra, are contesting as independents. So are some SAD and BJP candidates.
Friendly contests are also in the offing in the Bathinda municipal corporation between the PPP and Congress after they failed to seal a pact. Manpreet said they would go for a friendly match in wards represented by Congress leaders who helped him get a significant lead in urban Bathinda in last year’s Lok Sabha polls. firstname.lastname@example.org