Though the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance has not announced its candidates for the 50 wards of the Moga Municipal Corporation (MMC) so far, yet several local Akali and BJP leaders have already started campaigning for themselves in their respective wards.
Many leaders have also put up their posters as well as flex boards with photos of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal at various public places.
Meanwhile, SAD is caught in a typical situation as local senior leaders agriculture minister Tota Singh and SAD MLA Joginder Pal Jain are at loggerheads over the distribution of party tickets. Each of them wants to accommodate their loyalists.
Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Punjab irrigation minister, who is also party in-charge for the MMC election, and senior BJP leader Manoranjan Kalia held a secret meeting with Tota Singh and local Joginder Pal Jain to reach a consensus on the SAD and BJP candidates, but reliable sources revealed that no decision could be taken till late Sunday evening.
During the previous election, the SAD-BJP alliance had won 28 seats out of the 31 seats in the municipal council. After the council was upgraded as the municipal corporation, the number of wards ahs been increased to 50 with the inclusion of five villages including Sant Nagar, Landheke, Duneke, Mehmewal and Kothe Patti Mohabat in the city limits.
As per the old formula, the SAD had contested 21 seats while BJP 10 seats. But, now sources said that under the new political scenario, BJP is demanding 25 seats while the SAD has decided to leave only 17 seats for the BJP.
Sources said that more than 30 loyalists of Jain and more than 45 supporters of Tota Singh have started their election campaign in various wards to woo voters. On the other hand, the office of the municipal corporation is being visited by a large number of prospective candidates of both the SAD and the BJP for clearing pending dues and seeking no-due certificates, which are required for filing nomination papers.
Barjinder Singh Brar, chairman of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation, said, "SAD and BJP councilors, including me, had resigned from our posts in 2011 and recommended to Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal to upgrade the local body to a corporation. Under this situation, how can those coulcillors be ignored in the election."