GONE ARE the days when the City Beautiful comprised just people from Punjab and Haryana. Today, city’s demographics have changed and it rather has people from a wide range of communities. That is why the candidates this Lok Sabha elections are going all out to woo voters community-wise.
Uttarakhand population forms around 75,000 votes in the city. Just to woo the Uttarakhand voters, the BJP brought state Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on the day when Kirron Kher had to file nomination. The party also called Uttarakhand BJP chief Ajay Bhatt for campaigning. The Congress called former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat to woo this vote bank.
Local BJP councillor Heera Negi, who is from Uttarakhand, said, “There are around 75,000 votes. Most of the Uttarakhandis stay in sectors 39, 40, 41, 56, 55, Khuda Lahora, sectors 45, 46, 32, Kaimbwala, Daria and other places. Bhattji was here to campaign for us on 11th,” she said. The Uttarakhand votes have grown in the city from 700 in 1972 to 75,000 now and that is why the candidates are wooing them.
Seventy-two-year-old G S Negi, who is from Uttarakhand, stated that he came to the city in 1972 when there were hardly 700 to 800 Uttarakhand people here at that time. “We all came in search of jobs. In 1972, there were two factories in Punjab area. Most of the area here in Chandigarh was a jungle. Then after looking at us and the job opportunities at that time, more Uttarakhandis moved here and today people from our community hold a considerable share in the voters’ list,” Negi said.
He added that as their community grew in Chandigarh, the BJP was the first one to set up a Uttarakhand cell around a decade back, following which even the Congress too made a similar cell. “Today, we also have three of our councillors in the Municipal Corporation — Gurbax Rawat, Shakti Devshali and Heera Negi,” he stated.
Sohan Lal, 73, another one from Uttarakhand, said that all of them contributed and also set up a four-level Gharwal Bhawan in Sector 29. “Here, the bhawan is used for meetings, events and other programmes which people from their community want to hold,” he said.
A BJP leader requesting anonymity said, “By calling leaders of respective communities, the candidates want to show that they have the support of the community leaders. Everyone is targeting communities.”