Migrant population, which has sizeable number of votes in Ludhiana, holds the key in nearly 6 wards that will go to polls in the civic elections. While Congress, AAP and LIP have given one ticket each to migrant candidates, this has not been done by SAD-BJP alliance that had migrant councilors in the previous house.
From Ward 29, which is the area around Kanganwal, Congress’s Anita Shukla is the candidate while Thakur Bhupinder Singh is the LIP candidate from Ward 31. Jai Ram is the AAP candidate from Ward 15. Over 80 per cent of the vote bank in these wards is of migrants from UP and Bihar and perhaps this was the reason to choose such candidates. These three wards have not less than 50,000 votes of migrants. Radhekrishan, a candidate from Ward 22, is contesting as an Independent. He said that he had been associated with BJP for more than 20 years and even is a member of RSS. He added: “I was a BJP councillor in the previous term, but this time I was not given a ticket, though I had applied for one. One Balbir Singh has been given ticket. So, I decided to contest as an Independent and I will win for sure. I came from UP in my childhood and Ludhiana is my own home now.” He alleged that local leadership of BJP did not value his hard work and did not even value his contribution.
Thakur Baby Singh is yet another candidate from Ward 73, who is contesting for the third time. This ward is under BJP quota in the alliance this time. She had been winner for the last two times. Vishvanath Singh, her husband, said, “Last year, we were given ticket from Ward 74 by BJP , but we refused as I live in Ward 73. My wife had won and she supported SAD after winning. This time she did not seek any ticket and decided to contest as an Independent only.”
Vishvanathan had been working as senior vice-chairman of Punjab Parvasi Bhlai Board in SAD-BJP government. He said that his family came in Ludhiana when he was 11 years old. He added, “We are seeking votes on the basis of our performance in the ward and hence are confident of winning. Local body polls are won on personal performance and not on party’s performance.” Hargobind Tiwari, Chairman of Justice for Migrant Punjab and executive member of BJP said, “This year a number of candidates of purvanchal samaj had sought tickets from SAD-BJP alliance, but they have been ignored. Every vote segment should have been given due representation. The poll results will thus show the mistakes done by the alliance.”
When contacted, Ravinder Arora, president of district BJP he said, “We gave tickets to all candidates based on their performance irrespective of the fact that whether a person is parvasi or not. Our candidates are strong enough and hence they will win. Candidates who considered themselves above the party were refused ticket.”
Ranjit Dhillon, SAD’s district president, said, “We gave proper representation to migrants in parvasi bhalai board during SAD-BJP government. Though this time, they have not been given tickets, but we have given tickets to candidates from valmiki community, which Congress has not given.”
Members of Christian community on Sunday extended support to the Congress through a press conference for the upcoming local body polls. Gupreet Gogi, president of district Congress committee, said, “I am thankful to this gesture of Christian community for extending support to Congress. Party has always taken up their issues on top priority and will continue doing the same.”