A wind of self-governance is blowing through the Badi Haibowal area of Ludhiana city. Tired of the lack of basic amenities in the area's Ward Number 28, residents have found a unique way to get their demands met. They have decided to choose an independent candidate unanimously and make him contest the municipal corporation elections.
Eight of the 15 localities falling in the ward have already decided the candidate they would vote for in the MC polls.
Local youth have started door-to-door campaigning for the independent candidate, Chander Mohan Kalia, a former member of the employee union of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital. Kalia is being highlighted as the independent candidate for the elections.
The area residents say they no longer believe in a candidate associated with a political party, "as they (the parties) have always deceived the people".
MC elections in Ludhiana are considered important - the civic body is allocated an annual budget of Rs 740 crore. The elections are held after every five years and will take place on June 10 this time.
While the leaders of all major parties have begun strategising, the decision of the residents may give them the nightmares.
"Even without being a councillor of the area, Kalia has done a lot for the development of the ward," local resident Ravinder Saini said.
"He (Kalia) has many a times asked the MC to clean up the areas where there was a lot of filth and garbage. Now, the residents want him to be the councillor in the upcoming elections so that he has some authority. He is one of us and would work for us," Saini said.
Saini said the area had many "civic problems" but no one is bothered to solve these issues. "The councillor of the ward rarely visits the area to take stock of the problems," he added. He said residents were only left with the option of making their own candidate contest the civic polls.
The localities in ward number 28 that have already "decided" the fate of the polls include: Paviter Nagar, Joshi Nagar, Prem Nagar, Satguru Nagar, Patel Nagar, Bank Colony, Harkeerat Nagar, Gopal Nagar.
"We will boycott all the candidates contesting on the tickets of political parties. They never visit the areas after winning the polls. They owe their allegiance to their respective party and not the people," Krishan Pal Ved Pathi, another resident of the area, said.
Kalia, meanwhile, promises to work hard for the area's development, which he says, is reeling under the scarcity of basic amenities. "I would work hard to bring all the facilities to the residents of the area."