Infrastructure dominates agenda in some closely watched battleshttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/infrastructure-dominates-agenda-in-some-closely-watched-battles/

Infrastructure dominates agenda in some closely watched battles

As the blistering sun poured down,the BJP candidate from ward no 12 of the Panchkula Municipal Corporation (PMC),Sunil Talwar,greeted crowds from his black sedan,hands folded.

As the blistering sun poured down,the BJP candidate from ward no 12 of the Panchkula Municipal Corporation (PMC),Sunil Talwar,greeted crowds from his black sedan,hands folded. A line of vehicles in his convoy toured Sector 15 in the city,a sector that is marred by shortage of proper public infrastructure. This is among the few wards in the city whose electoral result will be watched keenly as Talwar is pitted against former president of the Municipal Council,Panchkula,Ravinder Rawal.

“I will win hands down,” declared Talwar. The BJP candidate’s confidence may seem too premature,but the residents of the ward are seeking a change. “There is no dispensary in the ward. We even had a police post,but it was shifted from here,due to which the number of crime incidents has shot up. Snatchings have become rampant,” said a resident of Sector 15,Pushpa Devi.

Also,in the election fray for ward number 12 are INLD candidate,Jitendar Sandhu,and independent candidate Geeta Dutt.

Like ward no 12 there are at least five other wards in the city where the polls have become important,as key figures of the city are in the fray.

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*From ward no 19,Congress-supported candidate Tarun Bhandari,who is also the former president of the Panchkula Municipal Corporation (PMC),is fighting against the HJC supported candidate and political secretary of former Deputy Chief Minister,Chander Mohan Sharma. Also in the contest are BJP’s Neelam Awasthi and INLD’s Naunihal Singh.

*From ward no 20 former president of the Panchkula Municipal Council and INLD candidate,Seema Chaudhary,is pitted against BJP candidate Bahadur Singh,and also in the contest is Congress-supported candidate,Raj Kumar.

*From ward no 10,Congress-supported candidate,Bhawna Gupta,who flaunts her association with Congress leader and Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment,Kumari Selja,is fighting against another candidate supported by Congress MLA from Panchkula,Ranjeeta Mehta,and BJP’s Geeta Kapoor.

*From ward no 14 former,councillor Lily Bawa is pitted against Congress-supported candidate Naresh Rawal,BJP’s Krishen Kumar,and INLD candidate Balwinder Singh.

*From ward no 18,Congress-supported candidate from the camp of MLA D K Bansal,Ashish Garg,is pitted against BJP candidate Neelam Awasthi and INLD candidate Naunihal Singh.

The elections in these wards will be watched keenly,not only because of the high profile of the candidates involved,but also because candidates supported by leaders of the same party are fighting against each other.

From ward no 10,candidate Bhawna Gupta said that her opponent,Ranjeeta Mehta,supported by Congress MLA D K Bansal,is naive. “She joined politics only a few months ago and I have been associated with the party for a very long time,” she said.

Also in these elections,candidates will be testing their popularity in areas outside their stronghold. Due to the delimitation,new sectors have been added to the wards that were earlier represented by different councillors. Ward no 14 now has areas of Sector 12,12-A,14 and Rella village.

These elections are also about how poor the infrastructure is in the city. Badly kept roads,lack of public health facilities and dysfunctional street lights have been the main worry of voters. The candidates’ electoral promises range from the shifting of garbage dumping grounds to the setting up of health centers.

“In Sector 15,a polyclinic has been approved in-principle by the government,” said Ravinder Rawal. BJP candidate from ward no 20,Bahadur Singh,said that there are around 18 villages that come in his ward and the condition of roads is pathetic in most of them. “The water overflows on the roads as the drainage system lies in shambles,” he said.

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Former councillor,Lily Bawa,said that she got the street lights fixed in the 12-A area. “The people of 12-A are banking on me and I am seeking votes on the work that I have done in Sector 12. I got the street lights fixed during campaigning in 12-A and there,the roads are pathetic,” she said.