AT LEAST four Congress leaders in the city are all set to field their wives in the December 18 Municipal Corporation polls, mostly from seats reserved for women. Those likely to be fielded have little or no political experience, nor any familiarity with the workings of the civic body.
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For instance, Chandigarh Congress president Pardeep Chhabra’s wife Ritu could be fielded from ward 3, where Chhabra has been councillor for the last many years. This ward has not become a reserved seat, but party sources said that being the Congress chief, Chhabra believes it would be inappropriate for him to contest. However, in order to maintain his hold on the ward, he may field his wife.
Similarly, from ward 12, reserved for women, Congress leader Anand Singh’s wife is likely to get the nod. For ward 17, another reserved seat, there are two applicants. Where Youth Congress president Harmail Kesri’s wife Preeti Kesri has applied, Congress member Rajiv Moudgil’s wife, too, has applied.
A senior Congress leader said, “These women will just be the face of the elections. In fact, it is their husbands, who would be seeking votes for them. As certain wards from where the Congress leaders had to contest became reserved for women, there was no other option but to field them.” Party leaders feel that fielding the wives of the leaders has worked in most cases.
“In the MC polls of 1996, former mayor Kamlesh’s husband, who was an active Congress member, fielded his wife Kamlesh. She was totally inexperienced, had never stepped out of the house and had no knowhow of any political work and see, out of all the seats, it was only Kamlesh who won and rest of the Congress candidates lost. She even became the mayor later. Same in Sheela Phool Singh’s case. She had no knowledge but was fielded by the party and she won,” said a senior Congress leader requesting anonymity.