AAP set to give a tough fight for SAD-BJP and Congress in Banga
Even though Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is not officially contesting the civic body polls and its leaders are not taking keen interest in the campaigning in majority of the state, the story in Banga is entirely different as candidates supported by the party can be seen giving a tough fight to SAD-BJP and the Congress.punjab Updated: Feb 20, 2015 22:00 IST
Even though Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is not officially contesting the civic body polls and its leaders are not taking keen interest in the campaigning in majority of the state, the story in Banga is entirely different as candidates supported by the party can be seen giving a tough fight to SAD-BJP and the Congress.
Independent candidates openly supported by AAP are contesting on 13 out of 15 wards under 'Bhrashtachaar Virodhi Banga Vikas Manch' and most of them have managed to get 'auto rickshaw' as their election symbol -- a vehicle of the common man.
For better part of its history Banga municipal council has remained a Congress bastion, but this time the party has lost its dominance due to infighting within party leaders and lack of strong leadership. This is evident in the fact that Congress has failed to find the suitable candidates for the local elections and is fielding the kith and kins of party members.
Meanwhile, the saffron party is contesting on eight seats for the SAD-BJP combine and is being led by Nawanshahar district BJP president Sanjeev Bhardwaj who hails from Banga and is trying to influence the voters by using Prime Minister Narendra Modi's name.
However, the party has very little achievements to show as far as local issues are concerned.
On the other hand, SAD is also a divided house in the town - one led by senior SAD leader and former MLA Mohan Lal Banga, son of ex-minister Chaudhary Swarna Ram and the other by Dr Sukhwinder Sukhi, the chairman of district planning committee.
Sukhi, a former BSP leader is trying to make his influence in the Banga's reserved assembly segment with his eye on ticket in the 2017 assembly elections but his working is being openly challenged by Banga's group.
Notably, AAP has a strong footing in the assembly segment as during last parliamentary elections, AAP candidate Himmat Singh Shergill, while contesting from Anadpur Sahib Lok Sabha seat, had got highest number of votes from the Banga assembly segment.
In a first of its kind in Banga, AAP workers released its election manifesto with a 26 point-agenda promising a transparent and corruption free council.
"Following the ethics of AAP, we will ensure development in the town and transparent use of funds by keeping every record online," said Shiv Kumar Kaura, an independent candidate and general secretary of AAP.
Meanwhile, the town has been struggling with severe civic problems including garbage dumps around the town, lack of drainage system, choked sewer and illegal parkings.
UBIQUITOUS GARBAGE DUMPS
In the absence of an earmarked site to dump garbage, people have habituated themselves with throwing the garbage on the roads. Garbage dumps can be found anywhere in the town including Nawanshar-Chandigarh road, Garhshankar Road, Market Road and other locations which give the town an unpleasant look. This issue has skipped the sight of the previous council completely.
ABSENT DRAINAGE SYSTEM
The life comes to a standstill on almost all streets and roads as even trifle rains inundate the town. Roads including Gandhi Road, Bus Stand Road, GTB Nagar and Mukandpur Road remain flooded with rainwater for several hours after rainfall due to lack of drainage system in the town. The residents especially in narrow streets are worst hit as rainwater floods into the houses.
The drainage problem is compounded by the fact that there no sewerage lines in many parts of the town, which leads to drain water spilling out into the streets. GTB Gate, Azad Chowk, Santokkh Nagar, Ravidass Nagar, Khalsa Brothers Colony, Gandhi Nagar and Bus Stand areas in particular are badly affected.
LACK OF PARKING SPACE
Residents also facing parking problems in town as there are no dedicated space for parking of vehicles. Even the buses on Nawanshahr-Chandigarh Road illegally ferry passengers from the main road into the town which leads to traffic congestion. Council authorities had initiated many drives against illegal parking but to no avail.