In the 13 wards of Rahon municipal council in Nawanshahr district going to polls on February 25, no political party has officially fielded any candidate on its symbol. In all, 34 candidates are in fray, all Independents.
The fear of infighting among ticket aspirants dogged not only the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but also the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party.
The move is surprising given that Rahon, which has 10,315 registered voters, has had leaders from the Congress, BSP and SAD as president of the council in the past 15 years. Among them are Nawanshahr Congress president Dharam Pal Bangar and BSP’s general secretary Nachhatar Pal, who hail from Rahon.
Speaking with HT, Bangar said Congress “followed the trend” set by other major parties. He claimed the though among the independent candidates there are some party workers, “the decision of not fighting the election on the party symbol was taken collectively”.
BSP’s Nachhatar underlined that “Rahon is a very small town”, a C-grade municipal council, and also claimed that it was the decision of the party workers to contest independently.
Completing the circle, SAD leader Hemant Kumar Bobby, who is fighting from ward 5 as an independent candidate, also said that since the Congress and BSP wre also going without party symbols, the SAD decided to do the same.
Bobby, who had successfully contested the municipal election in 2008 on the SAD symbol, stressed that his party had won most of wards in the past election.
Failing to give any concrete reasons behind not taking the symbol, he only claimed that the SAD alone could bring development to the town.
Residents said candidates did not want to carry the image of their parties. Local jeweller Lachhman Dass said, “Political parties have failed to do anything for development of the town. It lacks a government hospital, sewerage and drainage system, good roads, and other such basics.”
Pharmacist Rakesh Kumar too said the annoyance of the people towards parties was the reason behind workers being in the fray as Independents. firstname.lastname@example.org