Internal factionalism within the Congress seems to be doing the trick for the SAD-BJP alliance as one of its candidates from ward number 7 of Budhlada municipal council, Sarbjit Kaur, has won the election unopposed. Like in Mansa, in Budhlada also, the Congress has not fielded candidates from all the 19 seats and is contesting 10 seats only.
Sources said that former MLA Sher Singh Gagowal and sitting MLA from Sardulgarh subdivision Inder Ajit Singh Mofar had differences over the choice of candidates. Congress candidates are enjoying the support of either of these leaders and many of them are still waiting for their leader to campaign for them.
Gagowal confessed that during this election the party had a tough choice as they didn't find enough interested candidates to fight under the party symbol. "No one seemed interested to fight under the Congress banner. For us, it was very tough to get candidates who could represent our party in the municipal elections."
The senior leader, however, said that he is campaigning for every candidate regardless of his allegiance to MLA Mofar. Mofar, on the other hand, denied having any differences with Gagowal and claimed that he is campaigning for only those candidates who asked for his help. "I have campaigned for a few candidates. It's not like we have any dispute. But, I agree that we have not been able to campaign for each and every candidate," Gagowal added.
The candidates also complained that they are wary of fighting on the Congress symbol due to harassment by the ruling party. "If we fight under the symbol of the Congress, we are sure that members of some kisan unions won't vote for us. More than that, post-elections you often face harassment from the ruling party," claimed a candidate.
Meanwhile, the SAD-BJP alliance, which has fielded candidates from 17 seats, felt confident of a better show despite the fact that some od their own members rebelled and are fighting as Independents. "We are sure that Congress is down and out and we will perform better this time," said Satish Goyal, a senior BJP leader.
Clean drinking water: The residents have been complaining about the poor water supply in the region despite the waterworks department claiming to be doing well. "Clean drinking water is a birth right of every citizen," said an agitated advocate Umrinder Singh.
Sewerage: Sewerage is a big issue throughout the state and Budhlada is not an isolated case. Poor sewerage condition has always troubled the residents for a long time. Residents claim that despite repeated assurances from the authorities concerned, nothing has been done in this regard.
Encroachments: Encroachments are a big problem in the town, which lead to traffic problems due to congestion of roads caused by them. Former deputy commissioner Pravin Thind had started taking action against encroachments, but the administration, under the new head, has not shown much interest in this regard, the locals said.
"Encroachments by vendors in the market area are a great hindrance in the smooth flow of the traffic and traffic jams are quite common. It take s a lot of time to cover a small distance even. The former DC had initiated action against encroachers, but nothing is being done to remedy the situation now," claims Professor Satnam Singh.
Women's education: There is a growing demand for a college for women in the region. Since there is no government college for women in Budhlada, the girl students have to travel to far-flung areas for higher education.