Despite successfully playing the Hindu card in the recent assembly polls in the city, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has chosen a different strategy for the forthcoming municipal corporation elections.
In a Hindu-dominated city, the SAD had fielded as many as ten candidates from the community in the assembly polls and they all emerged winners.
The royal city has more than 65% Hindu voters and about 25% Sikhs. In the upcoming polls, the SAD has given tickets to only three Hindu candidates. The party is contesting 35 seats in the 50-member house.
In the last municipal body elections as well, the SAD had fielded only five Hindu candidates. Interestingly, out of the 222 applicants who sought the party ticket this time, 40 were from the Hindu community.
On the contrary, the SAD's alliance partner BJP has given 60% representation to the dominant Hindu community.
Out of its quota of 15 seats, the saffron party has fielded nine Hindus and four Sikh candidates. Despite this, the SAD-BJP alliance would be fielding only 26% Hindu candidates in the upcoming local body polls.
Taking a cue from the SAD's success in the assembly polls, the Congress, meanwhile, seems to be playing the Hindu card. It has fielded more than 30 Hindu candidates in the 50 seats that it would be contesting.
It's too early to draw any conclusions, but some of the Hindu groups feel the SAD-BJP has committed a grave error by ignoring the dominant community.
"This neglecting attitude towards Hindus may prove dear to the SAD. They have forgotten that their recent experiment of fielding the majority community candidates in Patiala had paid them rich dividends. We are going to convey our resentment to senior SAD-BJP leaders," said Shivraaj Sharma, district president of Brahmin Sabha.
But these Hindu groups feel that in case the alliance wins the elections it might placate the majority community by choosing Harpal Juneja as mayor.
Juneja is one of the three Hindu candidates that the SAD has given ticket to. He is also supposed to be a close confidant of the deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal and revenue minister Bikaramjeet Majithia.
Meanwhile, Surinder Singh Saidho, a sitting SAD councillor from the ward 7, announced to fight as an independent candidate against the BJP's Hindu candidate Varinder Batra.