While some of the industrialists are trying hard to consolidate vote bank during the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, most of the trade organisations in Ludhiana seem to be a divided house when it comes to choosing their candidate. This is likely to impact the voting pattern among the industries during the elections.
Different industries, including cycle manufacturers, dyeing units, hosiery and knitwear, among others, seem to have different views on the present political scenario. While some of the business organisations believe that it is the central government due to which the industries in the state have been suffering, others believe the state government was unable to uplift the industries in the state.
The trend could lead to divided votes of different industries. Lack of consolidation has already given jitters to the political leaders who earlier believed that they would get a majority of votes from industries. There are several industrialists who also pay their allegiance to different political parties, further dividing the votes.
Industrialists allege that, where the state government failed to provide better infrastructure to the industries, the central government failed to provide benefits on central excise duty and other subsidies.
There are nearly 15 lakh registered voters in Ludhiana district, out of which at least 2.5 lakh are industrial workers who are registered as voters. This figure would play a major role and could also be a deciding factor during the elections.
Ashok Makkar, president of Ludhiana Dyeing Industries Association, said, the central government had failed to provide any relief to the industrialists of Ludhiana. “When we look at a state like Gujarat, which has made strides in industrial development, it becomes clear that a party like BJP could work better than any other at the Center,” said Makkar.
He added, to bring Narendra Modi, the BJP prime ministerial candidate to power, dyeing industries would vote for Manpreet Ayali, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidate from Ludhiana.
On the other hand, knitwear club believes that the state government has failed to provide infrastructure to the hosiery industry in Ludhiana. “The city, which is also known as the Manchester of India, has been devoid of even basic infrastructure by the SAD-led state government,” said Vinod Thapar, chairman of knitwear club.
There are many others who do not wish to open their cards at present, but believe that a government having compatibility with the state government should be voted to power this time.
Charanjit Singh Vishwakarma, president of United Cycle Parts and Manufacturer Association (UCPMA), said, “A government which has compatibility with the state government should come to power. The main problem of industries in Punjab is that governments at state and central level are different, due to which we have to suffer,” adding that even in the past, different governments - both at state and central level - resulted in problems for the industries.