MC polls: Fate of 369 candidates to be decided today
Voters of the holy city will today decide who among the 369 candidates, including 125 women, should be sent to the 65-member Amritsar Municipal Corporation (AMC) house to take charge of local civic issues for the next five years.punjab Updated: Jun 09, 2012 23:54 IST
Voters of the holy city will decide on Sunday as to who among the 369 candidates, including 125 women, should be sent to the 65-member Amritsar Municipal Corporation (AMC) house to take charge of local civic issues for the next five years.
An electorate of 7,27,251 will exercise their franchise at 760 booths spread over 64 wards from 8am to 4pm to seal the fate of candidates in the electronic voting machines (EVMs).
Thereafter, counting will commence and the results will be out late in the evening. Voting will not take place in Ward No 39 where SAD candidate Dalbir Singh Mammanke has been elected unopposed.
Heaps of garbage lying all around the city, traffic jams and encroachments and failure to develop the basic infrastructure in several parts of the city in the past five years of its rule in the AMC has not dampened the spirit of the SAD-BJP alliance.
Despite having nothing new to offer except hollow promises of developing the city into a world-class tourist and pilgrim destination, the alliance is confident of its return to power in the AMC as its opponent, the Congress, is a demoralised lot, which seems to be still recovering from its loss in the assembly poll.
The BJP was to put up candidates on 38 seats, but the SAD which should have had candidates left on 26 seats, having already bagged one, has 28 contestants in the fray. This has happened as its candidates are also contesting from ward No 14 and 53 against the BJP candidates.
The Congress has nominees on 63 seats with its candidates withdrawing their nominations from two wards, including ward No 39.
Another Congress candidate from ward No 14 also announced her decision to withdraw from the contest but her name will figure among the contestants from that ward.
The contest will closely be watched in ward No 24 where mayor and BJP candidate Shwait Malik is up against Gurinder Singh Rishi, who is contesting for the first time.
The other main BJP contestants are former Improvement Trust chairman Bakshi Ram Arora (ward No 50), Rajesh Honey (ward No 27), Simarpreet Kaur Bhatia, Seema Khanna, wife of Improvement Trust Chairman Sanjiv Khanna (ward No 9), Sandhya Sikka (ward No 12), Meenu Sehgal (ward No 52) and Preeti Taneja.
The most prominent face of SAD in the contest is that of Geetinder Kaur Bolaria, wife of chief parliamentary secretary Inderbir Singh Bolaria. She is contesting from ward No 36.
Then there is senior SAD leader Surinder Singh from ward No 35.
The prominent Congress faces are deputy leader of the opposition in the AMC, Ranjan Aggarwal from ward No 8, veteran leader Kulbushan Duggal (ward No 27), Mamta Dutta (ward No 2) and Raman Bakshi (ward No 1).
Both the Congress and the SAD-BJP are also dealing with some strong rebels in certain wards.
BJP rebels Arun Kumar Pappal and his wife Meenu Mehra Mahajan are contesting from ward No 46 and 47 respectively. Neetu Mahajan, another BJP rebel, is making the going tough for Seema Khanna in ward No 9. Likewise, Jaskirat Singh, a SAD rebel, is in the contest from ward No 34.
The Sanjha Morcha, comprising the People's Party of Punjab (PPP), CPI and CPM, has candidates on 27 seats. Barring a few odd Morcha candidates, most of them do not carry much weight with the electorate.
The district administration has made all arrangements for the polls and the polling staff armed with the necessary instructions will be at their allotted booths an hour before the polling commences.
The police have stepped up patrolling in the city and check-points have been set up on all roads leading to the city to check the entry of those who may try to hamper the polling process. All polling booths have been checked and re-checked and then sealed and cordoned off by the police.