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Friday, February 26, 2021

Punjab local body polls: Banking on work, personal connect, several women candidates enter poll fight for first time

While BJP candidates are facing protests at most places in Punjab, Nupur claims that she is getting good response as she was already working as general secretary of BJP Yuva Morcha in Khanna tehsil.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana |
Updated: February 13, 2021 12:51:11 am
Congress candidate Rajni (with yellow garlands) is contesting from ward number 2, Pathankot. (Express photo)

A 25-year-old lawyer at the Khanna civil court, Nupur Chatley, has taken a few days off to focus on her campaign of the upcoming local body polls. Nupur is fighting the Khanna Municipal Council polls from ward number 24 on a BJP ticket.

While BJP candidates are facing protests at most places in Punjab, Nupur claims that she is getting good response as she was already working as general secretary of BJP Yuva Morcha in Khanna tehsil.

Her mother, Pooja Rani, is BJP Mahila Morcha president of Khanna, but she is the first one in her family to contest polls.

She said, “My focus is not just on streets, lights or sewerage, but I am meeting people with an aim to work towards girls’ education. No doubt it is a tough election this time, but we need to trust ourselves,” Ward number 24 is having 3,700 votes.

Narinder Kaur (37) is yet another candidate who is contesting her maiden election in Mansa from ward number 7. She is popular as ‘Comrade’ in the area and has been taking up social issues for a long time.

“When the farm movement began, I took several jathas to Singhu and Tikri borders. So, I am very much associated with farmers as well. My poll symbol is tractor chalanda kisan (tractor riding farmer). There are five candidates in my ward and a total of 2,696 voters are in the list. I know most of the voters personally and this was the reason that I am contesting independently as I trust myself and even the voters.”

Both Nupur and Narinder are contesting from the wards reserved for women. In these urban local body polls there are a total of 117 ULBs and polls are happening in 2,215 wards out of which 50% wards are reserved for women. A number of first timers are trying their luck too.

Another such candidate is Mandeep Kaur Ramgarhia who is a post graduate in commerce and is contesting on AAP ticket from ward number 33 for the upcoming Bathinda Municipal Corporation polls. Kaur (26), who was busy campaigning for her maiden election, said, “I am fighting this election with an aim to get the waterlogging problem of this area resolved. Area residents face water shortage as we are dependent on canal water. It is sad that even now, such basic issues are a poll agenda, however as previous parties did not deliver so I aim to resolve these problems first of all.”

Sandeep Kaur (26), who is contesting from ward 8 of Municipal Council Bareta in Mansa district on AAP’s ticket, said, “All the candidates in Bareta are contesting as Independents in 13 wards and I am the only one fighting on symbol. Hence, I am busy campaigning hard to win this poll.”

Sandeep is a graduate in business administration. Her husband, Jeewan Singh, has been associated with AAP for more than 2 years as a volunteer. Sandeep was chosen much before the ward was declared reserved for women because of her oratory skills. So, out of total 44 candidates from Bareta, she is the only one contesting on party symbol and the rest 43 are contesting as Independents irrespective of their party affiliation.

Rajni is contesting from Pathankot’s ward number 2. It is Pathankot’s maiden election for municipal corporation as earlier it was a municipal council. She is contesting from Congress ticket after death of her father ,Balwan Singh Manhas, who remained councillor of the same ward. Rajni said, “During lockdown, I came to stay with my father. He passed away last month only. I decided to stay back here and serve the people of the area as my father used to do. My husband is working in an IT firm in Noida. It is work from home for him these days. However, even he is planning to quit his job and stay with me in Pathankot only. Though my father had contested elections four times, this is my first nine-year-old daughter too campaigned for me in a few areas.”

Rajni is the only daughter of her parents. There are a total of 2,491 voters in ward number 2, she said.

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