The union territory of Chandigarh, also the capital of Punjab and Haryana is an important constituency for BJP and the Congress. Since 1991, there has been an alternative MP from either party. Pawan Kumar Bansal from the Congress won it in 1991, 1996 went to BJP, which was again snatched by Congress through 2004 and 2009 and then finally landed in the BJP kitty during the Modi wave of 2014. Bollywood actress Kirron Kher is the BJP sitting MP from there at present.
So, what is the scenario in 2019?
NewsMobile was on the road talking to locals in Chandigarh and in Anantpur Sahib to find out the mood of this election. What were the concerns, the issues that remained open, expectations from the new government and the reasons why a certain person was favoured over others.
Places visited –
Chandigarh railway station, Sukhna Lake, young voters at the Panjab University, traders at the Sector 17 market and Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s first rally in Chandigarh after taking over his new post for the party.
Apart from this, we visited Mohali, which forms part of the Anandpur Sahib constituency.
Chandigarh report card –
Most people who we spoke to were dissatisfied with their sitting MP. From remarks that she wouldn’t even know the roads of the city to ones that said that she was too busy judging reality shows to come and care for the constituency. Clearly, star power isn’t working this time in Chandigarh and people are talking about real problems.
Some of the issues that ranked in the top were – missing people connect, electricity, trader woes, GST, demonetisation, unemployment, women safety and security.
However, the general mood for the leader at the centre still remained focused on PM Narendra Modi. He was the unanimous choice. Most people were not keen to give Congress a chance at the centre.
In Chandigarh, the Modi wave definitely continues and if Kirron Kher does win a second term, it will be basis the PM’s popularity and not because of her own merit.
Anandpur Sahib –
Was not very different in terms of PM Modi’s popularity. There were a few traders who were vociferous in their resentment for BJP and said they will opt for NOTA. According to them, any party at the centre will do exactly the same – forget the ‘aam aadmi’ and just focus on their selfish motives.
General consensus –
PM Modi definitely has his charisma intact in the urban constituency of Chandigarh. People want to give BJP a chance even though there are many initiatives that they are unhappy with. GST, demonetisation rank in high on the list.
NewsMobile was in Chandigarh on the day of Rahul Gandhi’s rally and spoke to people there. The mood in the Congress rally was high, optimistic and very energetic. BJP’s shortcomings were spelt out and the mood to give Pawan Kumar Bansal another chance was very positive. Pawan Kr Bansal has been a youth college leader, has studied locally and understood the pulse of the city’s population. A candidate who will give a strong fight to Kirron Kher in 2019.
Watch our special coverage, from the ground, in our videos.
(Special report by Kshipra Narain and Rashi Harsha)