In an attempt to shed the ‘outsider’ tag, BJP’s Kirron Kher and AAP’s Gul Panag, both candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha election in Chandigarh, on Wednesday tried to strike an emotional chord with industrialists and traders of the city, narrating how their families had been adversely affected by the ‘obsolete building byelaws’ here.
Both Panag and Kher are Mumbai-based actors. Fielding of outsiders by two prominent parties has become an issue in the campaign. Therefore, both Gul and Kher are leaving no stone unturned to prove that they have their roots in the city and are well-versed with its problems.
The Joint Action Committee of commercial, residential and industrial areas had invited the four candidates for a discussion where they were asked to express their views on several issues. Besides Panag and Kher, BSP’s Jannat Jahan and Congress veteran Pawan Kumar Bansal, who is the sitting MP, attended.
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Jahan, who is the daughter of Ashok Kumar, owner of KC Theatre in Sector 17, said that she is the daughter of an industrialist and he had faced problems due to the non-performance of the Congress MP. Then she raised the issue of outdated building byelaws. “When my father’s theatre shutdown, a 100 families whose bread-winners had been working there suffered. They did not have money to pay their children’s school fees. However, permission for construction of a mall in its place was not granted due to age-old byelaws. There is a need for making the byelaws more flexible,” she said.
Taking a dig at the BJP and AAP candidate, she said that since she lived in Sector 35, there would be no need to call her in Mumbai if some work had to be done. Panag, on her part, said that her father was in the Army and worked for 40 years and bought a flat in the city, but he could not sell it due to the prevailing laws. “We are suffering because of the same system that is affecting you. There is a need to bring change,” she said.
Kher said that she felt proud that she belonged to Chandigarh. “When I tell people that I am from Chandigarh, they know it as City Beautiful. I have grown up here and studied at Panjab University. I come here almost every month. It was while campaigning for the Municipal Corporation elections that I saw the immense burden on the infrastructure of the city.” Kher said that it was shocking that even internal changes in buildings were not allowed. She said that there was a need to change with time.
A member of the association, MPS Chawla, said, “The women candidates spoke about the problems that their families faced due to the prevailing rules. They can understand our problems, they know that for growth there is a need to bring about changes.”