While the BJP and the Akali Dal candidates contesting for the Mohali MC elections are referring to their party’s top leaders including PM Narendra Modi and the Badal family for their campaigning, the Congress candidates have shunned using the name of any of their national leaders and their campaigns are based solely on the popularity of local leaders.
Their rivals said that this was because the popularity of the party is at an all-time low in the country, and the candidates “will only lose votes if they refer to the Congress’s national leaders”.
Consider this: the banners and posters of all the BJP candidates have the pictures of Modi, Amit Shah and other party leaders alongside their own, while the banners of the SAD candidates have pictures of the Badals. However, no Congress candidate has put up the names or photographs of the Gandhi family. Their banners simply display their own pictures alongside Mohali MLA and district Congress in-charge Balbir Singh Sidhu.
“Despite the Congress’s loss at the national level and in the recent Delhi elections, the local leadership continues to be popular among the residents, and the candidates are not taking any chances,” admitted a Congress candidate.
Meanwhile, BJP Vice-President Ramesh Verma said, “How can they gain votes using the Gandhi family’s name? Nobody is ready to vote for Congress, whether they boast of their leaders or not. They have been wiped out from elsewhere in the country, and will be wiped out from Mohali, too. Meanwhile, we have a number of leaders whom people respect.”
While Sidhu could not be reached for comment, another Congress leader said, “The question of using the party’s national leaders does not arise here. These are civic elections, and concerned with local issues and day-to-day affairs of the residents. That is why, we are simply keeping the campaign local.”
Meanwhile, the day saw an increased political activity as various party and Independent candidates continued to campaign ahead of the elections to be held on Sunday.
The SAD-BJP candidates held a road show led by SAD in-charge Balwant Singh Ramoowalia. The Congress held meetings all across the town, while MLA Sidhu’s wife Daljeet Kaur participated in door-to-door campaigning along with party candidates. Candidates of the ‘Azad Group’, too, held various rallies and interacted with residents.
The Congress has fielded candidates in all the 50 wards, while the SAD-BJP has fielded candidates in 45 wards, with one ward having candidates from both the parties. The ‘Azad Group’, led by former Akali leader Kulwant Singh, has 36 candidates.