SAD earned voters’ wrath for ignoring development

  • Navrajdeep Singh, Hindustan Times, Patiala
  • Updated: May 19, 2014 23:40 IST

The move by the Patiala municipal corporation (PMC) to start development works just before the parliamentary elections turned out to a poor management strategy.

Aimed to create a development-friendly image, the civic body started the much-awaited work of construction of roads with an approximate cost of `4 crore just before the formal notification for the elections to woo voters.

This politically motivated decision to lure voters in the name of development didn’t go in favour of mayor Amarinder Bajaj and his team.

The civic body was drawing flak for poor condition of roads, blockade of sewerage, poor drainage system and lack of other basic amenities.

In the Patiala urban constituency, SAD candidate Deepinder Singh Dhillon got only 16, 342 votes while Preneet Kaur got 43,238 votes and Dharamvira Gandhi 35, 674 votes.

In the Patiala rural constituency, Dhillon secured 26,030 votes while Preneet and Dr Gandhi, secured 42,290 and 56,287 votes, respectively.

“These development works should have been started a few months before the elections. Moreover, we failed to provide even basic amenities to people,” admitted a senior Akali councillor.

Lack of basic amenities angered voters.
The municipal corporation’s inability to provide even basic amenities irked the voters.
The inaction on the part of two mayors precipitated the situation. Former mayor Jaspal Pradhan was elected for the first time on September 17, 2012 after the local body elections. He was made to resign six months later after his alleged involvement in the killing of his daughter-in-law on February 26.
Pradhan, who was said to be close to state education minister Maluka, lost his stature. Not even a single paisa was released during his short tenure.

After his resignation, Bajaj, an MBA degree holder, coped hard to shoulder the responsibilities.
Residents had pinned high hopes on 36-year-old mayor but he,too, failed to deliver.

Bajaj has been facing criticism from councillors of his own party and from the opposition after his casual approach towards their demands to carry out development work in their respective wards.

Imposition of property tax fuelled the fire
Whether it was the issue of demolition in 2012 or the imposition of property tax in 2013, frustration among traders and common man was brewing against the government for the past two years.
Though several protests were staged in the city against “anti-people decision”, but their representatives failed to do the needful.

Shortage of funds affected development pace
Due to shortage of funds, development projects initiated before the polls were either stopped or slowed down.

The road from Rajindra hospital to Khalsa college and to Badungar colony could not be completed. The carpeting of roads on several areas raised questions over the quality of the material used.

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