A maze of narrow lanes clogged by countless encroachments, weathered establishments and hanging electric wires, remind you of an unplanned and outgrown older city - welcome to Ludhiana Central constituency, the hub of hosiery and garments, dominated by traders.
Areas including Industrial Areas A and B, Kidwai Nagar, Madhopuri, Transport Nagar and Field Ganj, among others, dot this constituency that was carved out before the 2012 assembly polls with 1,44,160 voters.
The constituency is represented by Congress MLA Surinder Kumar Dawar, who defeated BJP bigwig and former cabinet minister Satpal Gosain, in 2012 by a margin of 7,000 votes. The area has remained a Congress domain even before it was born out of Ludhiana North and East.
Issues concerning the constituency
As the area lies in the old city, it is dominated by narrow lanes and encroachments. The constituency is also dotted by a number of old buildings. However, out of these buildings, most are commercial and declared ‘unsafe’ by the municipal corporation.
Lack of power lines and dangling wires from electric poles is another issue that is a cause of concern for the residents of the area. The MC has tried to remove encroachments in the area, but failed.
The constituency is mostly dominated by small traders and wholesalers. Voters keep in mind prospects of business before voting for any party. The Congress gave prominence to the trading community in their manifestos, leading to Dawar’s win in the 2012 polls.
There are not many notable Independents from the area. The first-timer LIP-AAP candidate, Vipan Sood Kaka, and BJP candidate Gurdev Sharma Debi are campaining on a regular basis. Though there was a delay in ticket allocation, Debi has proved to be a hurdle in covering the entire constituency in the available time .
Dawar has already campaigned in most parts of the constituency. A majority of the wards in the constituency are also represented by the councillor, giving him an upper hand.
Muslims cannot be ignored because one of the main mosques of the city is in the Field Ganj area with nearly 10,000 votes.
The Congress hold in the constituency is evident from the fact that Gosain, who joined Congress recently, was persuaded within a day to make a comeback to the BJP after senior party leaders expressed a fear that it will give an upper hand to the Congress there.
BOX: Voter speak
Nirmal Singh, New Shivaji Nagar resident
There are many areas which are congested and require a major revamp. Residents suffer regular traffic snarls due to narrow roads. A solution to ease traffic congestion is paramount.
Amrit Kaur, Hargobind Nagar resident
I think women’s safety should get utmost importance by any MLA. This is one of the major issues concerning women in Ludhiana.
BOX: Candidate speak
Surinder Dawar, Congress
Youth will be my main focus, if I am elected again. I will ensure jobs for them through our scheme Har Ghar Naukri. I will make sure that industry prospers. Covering Ganda Nalla is top on my priority list. I initiated this project and got ₹5 crore approved for it.
Gurdev Sharma Debi, BJP
Construction of proper roads in the constituency will be one of the major issues I will work on. I will also ensure that the constituency is provided with all basic amenities and residents are included in governance.
Vipan Sood Kaka, AAP-LIP
The poor will be my priority. I will ensure construction of a school and a hospital for them. Basic amenities, including provision of potable water to residents in the constituency, will also be a main focus.
CONSTITUENCY WATCH: LUDHIANA CENTRAL