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Posted at: Oct 9, 2019, 7:03 AM; last updated: Oct 9, 2019, 7:03 AM (IST)ASSEMBLY BYPOLL

Who’s going strong? Dakha won’t tell

2017 elections saw clear trend in favour of AAP | Voters mum this time

Minna Zutshi

Tribune News Service

Dakha (Ludhiana), October 8

Unlike the 2017 Assembly elections when the voters in the Dakha Assembly constituency openly voiced their support for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the byelection from the constituency has not seen any clear trend so far.

“It’s hard to tell which party will win. This time, the electorate is not so open about voting preferences. Last time, it was ‘jharoo’ (AAP poll symbol) all the way, but this time, people are not discussing their choices,” said a middle-aged man sitting at a shop a few yards away from the Congress office here. He refuses to reveal his name.

He leaves the shop hurriedly and says he is a “mulazim” (an employee) and hence, cannot comment. He is also reluctant to share his views on the development issues related to the constituency.

In Mullanpur market, a shop owner, Surinder Singh Kalsi, talks about the “utter failure” of the successive governments in ensuring the development of the area. He highlights out a long list of pending development works.

Reflecting the “despondency” of the voters, a local resident says the leaders are not held accountable to the electorate. “Once elected to a government office, their ‘pension’ is ensured. The poor voters are left high and dry,” he alleges.

In Mullanpur village, women clam up when asked about the bylection. “Assi aurataan haan (We are women.) What do we know about elections? Till now, no one has approached us (for votes),” says Jaswinder Kaur.

Her daughter-in-law Pawandeep complains about “chappar” (pond) that emits foul smell. “Our repeated requests to get it cleaned failed to evoke any response,” she complains.

The candidates of various political parties, meanwhile, are busy wooing the voters. Posters of SAD candidate Manpreet Singh Ayali, Congress’ Captain Sandeep Singh Sandhu and the LIP’s Sukhdev Singh Chak can be seen in market places and in Dakha and Mullanpur villages.

Keeping in view the Dasehra festivities today, the SAD, LIP and AAP held only nukkad meetings. “Tomorrow, Bhagwant Mann will address gatherings at more than 20 villages,” says AAP candidate Amandeep Singh Mohi.

Addressing a gathering at Dakha, Captain Sandhu promises all-round development of the area. Launching a scathing attack on his opponents, he says: “Even the basic civic amenities are missing here. Why isn’t there a civil hospital in Dakha?” He emphasises that (if elected from the Dakha Assembly) his focus will be multi-dimensional and that he will ensure public participation in the eradication of drug menace.

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