Devp, jobs remain bone of contention in Ambala Cantt

In the Ambala Cantonment constituency, it is a fight between five-time MLA and Haryana cabinet minister Anil Vij, who is going for a hat-trick of wins on a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and two first-time contenders. Pitted against him is Congress candidate Venu Singla Aggarwal, a close confidante of state Congress president Kumari Selja; and a Congress rebel and former national general secretary of Mahila Congress Chitra Sarwara, contesting as an independent candidate.
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Published on Oct 20, 2019 12:25 AM IST
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By, Chandigarh

In the Ambala Cantonment constituency, it is a fight between five-time MLA and Haryana cabinet minister Anil Vij, who is going for a hat-trick of wins on a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and two first-time contenders.

Pitted against him is Congress candidate Venu Singla Aggarwal, a close confidante of state Congress president Kumari Selja; and a Congress rebel and former national general secretary of Mahila Congress Chitra Sarwara, contesting as an independent candidate. Sarwara is the daughter of former Haryana minister Nirmal Singh who rebelled against Congress after he was denied a ticket. 

While Vij backs his claims of development with a 10-page “report card”, both Aggarwal and Sarwara are banking on what they claim to be Vij’s failure to create jobs for the local youth.

‘BROUGHT PROJECTS’

Taking a breather from his campaign in a small room at the party office in Kabaddi market here, Vij reiterates his campaign slogan, “Naare ko na naam ko vote padega kaam ko (Not to slogans, not to name, but vote will go to performance).” His report card, a colourful campaign document, details his achievements with the help of pictures and graphs.

“I brought projects worth 1,820 crore to the cantonment in the past five years, which include a new government college, four-laning of Ambala-Saha highway, bank square, state’s biggest bus stand, civil hospital, mini-secretariat, grain market, martyrs museum, parks, sports stadium, and an all-weather swimming pool,” says Vij.

However, Aggarwal, while on her door-to-door campaign in Mahesh Nagar, rubbishes his claims, saying, “It is all an empty rhetoric. The last five years have been a total waste for the constituency as he remained tangled in one controversy after another.”

Sarwara, also in the middle of a door-to-door campaign, agrees with the money spent in the past five years, but questions, “What did all the spending achieve? Nothing! Where are the jobs? Where is the basic infrastructure and amenities in the city? The roads are in a mess, and sewage and drainage issues have only worsened during his tenure. Civil hospital is there but there are no machines there. Doctors are too scared to work there because of his loose temper and arrogance. People go there only to be referred to other hospitals. The local industry is in a crisis.”

WAR OF WORDS

For Aggarwal, abrogation of Article 370 and the Balakot airstrikes are not an issue for assembly elections.

“It is all about local issues. People know Congress can deliver on development, which Vij couldn’t,” she says.

Vij disagrees, “Hundreds of Haryana’s sons have given their lives fighting terrorism in Kashmir. People realise the importance of historic steps taken by the Prime Minister for our nation’s security and integrity. Congress cannot do so.”

On the other hand, Sarwara said, “When we were in Congress and protesting against BJP policies, she (Aggarwal) was nowhere to be seen. For how long can the Congress workers be taken for granted by leaders like Selja? People and party workers are with me.”

For Congress and Aggarwal, however, Sarwara is not even relevant to the contest.

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Friday, January 28, 2022