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Poll roundup: Direct fight for cash-rich Ludhiana MC tomorrow

The Big Two: Traditional rivals – Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine – main contenders for 95-seat MC

punjab Updated: Feb 23, 2018 11:20 IST
Tarsem Singh Deogan
Tarsem Singh Deogan
Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
Poll roundup,Direct fight,Ludhiana MC
A boy riding a bicycle under the maze of buntings hung by candidates of various parties in Ludhiana on Thursday. (Gurpreet Singh/HT)

It will be a direct contest between traditional rivals – the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine – for the 95-seat Ludhiana Municipal Corporation that goes to the polls on Saturday.

  • Wards: 95
  • Candidates: 494
  • Voters: 10.5 lakh
  • Male voters: 5.67 lakh
  • Female voters: 4.82 lakh
  • Third gender: 23 votes

The Lok Insaaf Party-Aam Aadmi Party alliance is also in the fray for the biggest corporation in the state that has an annual budget of more than Rs 1,300 crore. The alliance is giving a tough fight to the Big Two in its strongholds of Ludhiana South and Atam Nagar.

The LIP has fielded candidates in 59 constituencies, while the AAP announced 36 nominees of now 28 are left in the contest with eight opting out. The Congress is contesting all 95 seats, while the SAD and the BJP have fielded 48 and 46 candidates, respectively. The BJP has given up a seat (ward number 55) and announced support to independent candidate Parvinder Kaur.

Rebel factor

All camps faced rebellion following the distribution of tickets, leading to aspirants contesting as independents.

While the Congress expelled 28 rebels on Wednesday, the Shiromani Akali Dal expelled seven leaders, including Harpreet Singh Bedi, its official candidate from ward number 72; his wife Veera Bedi, Gurdeep Singh Leel, Harpal Singh, Sohan Singh Goga and Manjit Singh Shimlapuri, for anti-party activities.

  • Overcharging and unauthorised parking
  • Lack of policy for outdoor advertising
  • Encroachments
  • Contaminated water in Giaspura and Sherpur areas
  • Sewerage disposal problem
  • Garbage heaps on roadsides
  • Covering of Ganda Nullah and cleaning up of Buddha Nullah
  • Corruption in local bodies

Former Akali mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria did not get a ticket this time. After speculation that he would join the rival Congress, the Akalis announced a ticket to his wife, Pushpinder Kaur, taking back the ticket of the wife of Sohan Singh Goga.

The exit of Ranjit Singh Ubhi, Parminder Singh Soma, Gurpreet Singh Gora and Sher Singh Garcha in the run-up to the elections was a setback for the Lok Insaaf Party. Ubhi joined the SAD, while the rest opted for the Congress.

Development card

Congress district chief Gurpreet Gogi, senior leader Balkar Sandhu and Mamta Ashu, the wife of MLA Bharat Bhushan Ashu, are seen as frontrunners for the mayor’s post.

Gogi said his party is contesting on the development plank. He criticised the SAD-BJP alliance of failing the city on the development front in the past decade when it was in power. “Roads are broken and potable water is scarce. Every year, people fall prey to dengue and vector-borne diseases,” he said, citing issues that his party raised in its campaign.

Besides development, Lok Insaaf Party chief and MLA Simarjeet Singh Bains, said his party was contesting to end corruption. “Our manifesto is clear on this. The SAD and the Congress have done nothing but corruption. Only the LIP-AAP alliance can bring development to the city,” he added.

First Published: Feb 23, 2018 11:17 IST