Big ticket names of several parties on Tuesday made one final push in favour of their candidates as campaigning for the Chandigarh municipality polls, scheduled to be held on December 24, formally drew to a close here.
On Tuesday, all the parties brought out their big guns for campaigning with leaders like Kumari Selja, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Kanhaiya Kumar, Manpreet Singh Badal, Manoj Tiwari, Haryana Chief Minister, Manohar Lal Khattar, senior BJP leader, Manjinder Singh Sirsa, Union Minister of State for Defence, Ajay Bhatt, Union Minister, Piyush Goyal , Union Information and Broadcasting Minister, Anurag Thakur, and Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, hitting the campaign trail for one final time before it drew to a close.
On Tuesday, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also released its campaign report for the December 24 polls, with Chandigarh president of the party, Arun Sood, expressing confidence that the city residents will again vote his party back to power in the upcoming civic polls.
Sood, along with former state president and co-incharge of BJP in Himachal Pradesh, Sanjay Tandon, and former MP Satya Pal Jain, addressed a press conference on Tuesday after wrapping up their campaign during which they reiterated in unison that Chandigarh belongs only to the residents of Chandigarh. “The dignity of Chandigarh neither belongs to Punjab nor to Haryana. It only belongs to its natives who have nurtured the city for decades,” Sood said..
While detailing his party’s campaign, Sood said that a total of 12 star campaigners through 56 public rallies canvassed for the party candidates. Apart from that, the state President and other leaders addressed 72 meetings in every nook and corner of the city. Sood added that Congress councillor Sheela Phool Singh, one Akali Dal candidate and many other top leaders from other parties joined the party in the run up to the elections.
Former BJP president, Sanjay Tandon, said that the BJP held between 700-800 indoor meetings involving the candidates, supporters and the party high command. He said the party was contesting the elections on the back of developmental work that it had carried out while it was in charge of the Chandigarh civic body.
Tandon said that the country already had Narendra Modi as its Prime Minister. Chandigarh has an MP from BJP already (Kirron Kher). If the people voted for the BJP in the civic polls as well, then Chandigarh would have triple engine governance, which will give a further boost to the ongoing development projects.
Congress, on the other hand, brought in its leaders from Delhi in order to convince voters on the last day that they would provide better governance if voted to power. The party took up issues like Covid funds being underutilised to Chandigarh slipping in the cleanliness rankings in its last presser that was held on Tuesday.
Congress leader, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who is also a former Chief Minister of Haryana, addressed four rallies in various parts of the city on Tuesday during which he highlighted the alleged falling standards of civic amenities with grave concern and urged the people of Chandigarh to throw out the corrupt and inefficient BJP from the Chandigarh civic body. Appealing to the voters to vote for the Congress candidates, he said that his party shall fulfill all promises made in its manifesto. Apart from Hooda, Kumari Seilja, a former Union Minister and President of Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee, addressed a rally in Sector 25 on Tuesday.
Other Congress leaders like Manpreet Badal, Rajkumar Verka and Mohinder Singh Kaypee, along with some Punjab Ministers, also held rallies during the day during which they were highly critical of the BJP for terming patriotic farmers as anti-nationals.
They even took up the issue of farm laws. “The false arrogance and vanity of BJP leaders was responsible for the demise of around 750 farmers in their fight against the three back farm laws,” they said.
Besides them, Kanahiya Kumar, a firebrand Congress leader from Bihar, also drew big crowds in the ten rallies that he addressed in the last two days in the city.
Earlier during the day, the Congress held a presser, in which Netta D’Souza, the president of All India Mahila Congress, urged the women of the city to vote for her party and give the city in safe hands. Addressing the press conference at Congress Bhawan, Sector 35, on Tuesday, D’Souza said that Chandigarh city, which used to be known for its beautiful landscape and learned populace, is now leading the country in crimes against women.
Subhash Chawla, president of Chandigarh Congress, lambasted the BJP for putting the people of Chandigarh under heavy burden of taxes even when they were facing hardships due to the Covid pandemic and said that if Congress wins the upcoming municipal elections, the party will give 100% relief in water tariff and property tax charged from people during the entire duration of lockdown.
BJP is ‘trouble engine’: AAP
Meanwhile the Aam aadmi party said that the double engine growth formula of the BJP has failed and has turned into “trouble engine” .
In a press conference held at its party headquarters on Tuesday, national leader and Chandigarh affairs in-charge, Jarnail Singh, said that the BJP in the name of development, thas done a surgical strike on the people of Chandigarh by imposing various types of hefty taxes.
Questioning the BJP, Singh said that Arun Sood should tell the people why Chandigarh had slipped in cleanliness rankings despite Narendra Modi being the PM, Chandigarh having a Lok Sabha MP in Kirron Kher, and mayor and councilors in the civic body belonging to the party. The AAP leader said that if BJP leaders and councilors had done a single material thing in the interest of the city in the last five years, they would not have been required to hold press conferences in closed rooms today.
FOOT MARCHES AS SHOW OF STRENGTH
Several candidates on the last day displayed their show of strength by holding foot marches, ‘padyatras’, with their supporters.
Harpreet Kaur Babla, Congress candidate from Ward No. 10 (Sector 27-28-29) went for a foot march in the entire ward with her husband Congress councillor and
leader of Opposition Devinder Singh Babla and her supporters. Around 500 local residents joined them in the day-long foot march, which started from sector 29 and ended at sector 28 and 27 where the campaign was concluded as per the model code of conduct time, 5pm.
Babla said that sector 29 has been added to their ward for the first time and will take up pending developmental works in sector 29 on priority if elected.
Likewise, Aam Aadmi Party candidate, Anju Katyal, also held a foot March with her supporters on Tuesday.