In Mukerian, anti-incumbency stares at factionalism-riddled BJP | punjab | Hindustan Times
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In Mukerian, anti-incumbency stares at factionalism-riddled BJP

Strong anti-incumbency stares at the Bharatiya Janata Party, which has been at the helm at the municipal council for the past 10 years, in the run-up to the upcoming civic body elections.

punjab Updated: Feb 13, 2015 23:51 IST
Harpreet Kaur

Strong anti-incumbency stares at the Bharatiya Janata Party, which has been at the helm at the municipal council for the past 10 years, in the run-up to the upcoming civic body elections.


But this is not the lone worry of the saffron party. It is also grappling with factionalism which can mar its chances in the upcoming civic elections. Its ties with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) are also strained.

The local units of both the parties agreed to continue mutual support in 14 wards but they are contesting independently in ward 11. The BJP has pitted Jiwan Mahajan, who had won as an Independent in previous elections but switched over to the BJP, against SAD’s Gurvinder Singh Sabi.

Moreover, rebels are all set to give the main political parties a run for their money. Ranjodh Singh Kuckoo, son of veteran Akali leader Joginder Singh, has filed his nomination from ward 8. In ward 12, former MC Waryam Singh has fielded his wife Baljit Kaur in protest against giving away of ticket to SGPC member Ravinder Singh Chak’s sister-in-law. Disgruntled BJP leader Munish Jain has brought forth his wife Kamini to contest the election in ward 4 from where the party has nominated former MC president Kamal Jain’s wife Rajesh Jain.

Kamal Jain enjoys the patronage of former minister Arunesh Shakir. Besides Shakir, it is SAD’s campaign in-charge Sarbjot Singh Sabi, Hoshiarpur zila parishad chairman and also in-charge of Doaba zone of SAD’s youth wing, and local MLA Rajnish Babbi, whose political interests are involved in the MC battle.

The Congress is desperate to make a comeback but it is a victim of factionalism, a slipshod leadership and loss of public trust. After the demise of veteran leader Kewal Krishan, the party has been on a downward spiral. It has put up its candidates in 13 wards and extended support to two Independents.

There is a strong resentment among local residents due to lack of amenities. People await good roads, traffic lights, playgrounds, assured water supply and sanitation.

Encroachments

People are wary of encroachments on almost all main roads. Fruit and vegetable venders have occupied much of space outside bus stand, civil hospital and Mata Rani Chowk. Traffic jams are a common scene in these areas. MC officials said every time an encroachment is removed, they get a call from political leaders to spare the defaulter. “It emboldens the encroachers and de motivates the staff,” said an employee of the municipal council.

Lights

Street lights are missing from the stretch of Jalandhar-Pathankot National Highway which passes through the town. Residents rued that the poles uprooted at the time of widening of the highway almost a decade ago were never replaced. “Many accidents take place at night time due to darkness. Motorists miss the stray cattle and pedestrians which leads to a grave situation”, said Harpal Singh, a local.

Public Parks

There is a single park in the town adjacent to the municipal council building which is also ill maintained. People have no other public place to enjoy leisure, to socialise or engage with nature. The town does not have any playground either. Children have to go to schools or unsafe vacant lands to play. Another space known as Dussehra ground is also passed off as a municipal park but it has no feature of a regular park.

Sewerage and water supply

Many new colonies carved out in the town in the last few years are without water and sewerage connections. Kala Manjh and Chak Alla Baksh villages were assimilated in the municipal limits about two decades ago but they still await urban facilities. Some older areas are also grappling with water supply shortage. More than 20% of the town lacks sewerage.

Executive officer Karminder Singh, when contacted, blamed political interference for lopsided development. “The majority party MCs manage to get maximum projects cleared for their wards as a result of which other parts of the town suffer. We can carry out only those works which are passed by the House’, he said.

“The uprooted lights on the highway were not put up at the same place again as heavy vehicles often damaged them We shifted all the 60 points near the sugar mill and instead installed high mast lights at the two major junctions”, he added. As for encroachments, he said the same could not be removed without political will.

NUMBER OF SEATS:15

Total number of registered voters: 21,886
Male Voters:11,179
Female Voters:10,707
Wards reserved for SC candidates: 3 (including 1 for woman)
Wards reserved for BC candidates: 1
Wards reserved for women: 5 (including 1 for SC)

ANTICIPATED SEAT SHARING
SAD-BJP to contest on all 15 seats
Congress to contest 13 seats on symbol and support Independents in 2 wards

LAST YEAR'S RESULTS
Total Wards: 15
BJP:9
SAD:3
Congress: 2
Independent:1 (who later joined BJP)


BUDGET
Rs 6.52 crore
66%:Expenditure made
80% :Works completed till date
Rs 81 lakh: Expected revenue generation from property tax during 2014-15
Rs 7.98 lakh: Total property tax collected till now


MAJOR ISSUES
-Water supply and sewerage
-Public parks
-Street lights
-Encroachments