Colonies hold the cards for Chandigarh’s next MP - Hindustan Times
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Colonies hold the cards for Chandigarh’s next MP

By, Chandigarh
Apr 18, 2024 06:37 AM IST

Standing tall with nearly half of Chandigarh’s voterbase, colonies will be the campaign epicentre for both Congress and BJP

Housing nearly half of the constituency’s voterbase, the 25 colonies in Chandigarh are set to be at the heart of campaigning for both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress.

This time, so far, 6,47,291 people have enrolled as voters in Chandigarh, of which staggering 3 lakh (46%) voters are residents of colonies that are plagued by various civic issues. (HT File Photo)
This time, so far, 6,47,291 people have enrolled as voters in Chandigarh, of which staggering 3 lakh (46%) voters are residents of colonies that are plagued by various civic issues. (HT File Photo)

The energy is palpable, fuelled by memories of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, where colony voters showed up in force, boasting a turnout of 74%, compared to urban areas’ 68%.

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In fact, the top four areas with highest voter turnout were also colonies, with Sector 25 leading the charge at 85.41%, followed closely by Maloya Colony (84.52%), Dadumajra Colony (84%) and Manimajra’s Indira Colony (83.64%).

This time, so far, 6,47,291 people have enrolled as voters in Chandigarh, of which staggering 3 lakh (46%) voters are residents of colonies that are plagued by various civic issues.

In terms of colonies’ representation in the Chandigarh municipal corporation (MC), AAP has eight councillors, and the Congress and the BJP one each.

While the BJP has nominated Sanjay Tandon, a Lok Sabha debutant, the Congress has picked Manish Tewari, a two-time MP, who will be backed by the party’s INDIA bloc partner AAP.

On Wednesday, Tewari kicked off his poll campaign from the largest colonies – Maloya and Mauli Jagran — a traditional vote bank of four-time Congress MP from Chandigarh Pawan Bansal.

Tewari is hoping to attract support from the colonies, having allocated grants from his MPLAD fund and staying in regular contact with local colony leaders, despite being the MP from Anandpur Sahib.

Last year in September, Tewari had allocated 2.5 lakh from the MPLAD fund to install CCTV cameras in Bapu Dham Colony. Additionally, he had previously provided funding for installation of open gyms in parks.

The BJP is also constructing its campaign to woo colony voters, banking on the BJP-led central government’s social welfare schemes, aimed to benefit the lower strata of the population, mostly housed in colonies in Chandigarh.

“Our focus will be on colonies and housing societies. We have already devised a strategy for our campaign and we are confident of winning across Chandigarh,” said Davinder Babla, a member of the State Election Management Committee, BJP.

In 2019, the BJP had also brought in functionaries from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh to connect with migrants.

Former director of Dr BR Ambedkar Centre, Panjab University, Manjit Singh said in Chandigarh, mostly the lower-rung population was settled in colonies, who have higher expectations from elected leaders, both in terms of uplifting their lives and civic development. Thus they come out to vote in high numbers, attracting parties’ attention.

In the 2014 election, AAP candidate Gul Panag had eaten into Congress candidate Pawan Bansal’s vote bank in the rehabilitated colonies and slums, grabbing 1.08 lakh votes (23.97%) compared to Bansal’s 1.21 lakh (26.84%). BJP’s Kirron Kher, who won the elections, received 1.91 lakh votes (42.20%), having earned a lead in colonies.

In 2019, Kher won again with 2.31 lakh votes (50%), while Bansal received 1.8 lakh votes (40.4%) and AAP’s vote share was relegated to 3.82%, with its candidate Harmohan Dhawan polling 13,781 votes.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Hillary Victor is a Special Correspondent at Chandigarh. He covers Chandigarh administration, municipal corporation and all political parties.

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