Chandigarh MC Polls: War Room Crusaders

Congress hopes for a comeback

After three successive electoral defeats since 2014, the Chandigarh Congress hopes to make a comeback in a city, once considered its stronghold. Seven years ago, having a majority in the MC house, Congress lost the mayoral election to the BJP. Later in the 2016 MC polls, it suffered a major beating, taking just four seats while the BJP alliance won 21 seats.

The big old party is banking on the anti-nomination factor and the city’s declining ranking of Swachh Survekshan for a return to power. Inflation, the “high” tax burden on city residents, the “bad” development record of the BJP and the financial crisis of the MC are other major issues that Congress is counting on for this election. The entry of the AAP, in a traditionally two-front battle, has particularly disrupted the party’s electoral strategy. In many neighborhoods, the two parties are vying for the same anti-BJP votes. Unlike the BJP and AAP, which spend heavily on advertising, the party focuses more on individual contact with voters and social media.


Pawan Kumar Bansal, Treasurer of the National Party

A four-time MP for Chandigarh and the party’s center of power in the city, Bansal dictates the party’s overall electoral strategy – major electoral issues, the party’s response to rival party tactics, and the overall management of party affairs during the election. . The former Union Minister for Railways also played a key role in the selection of candidates. Being the most recognizable face of the party, Bansal also actively participates in door-to-door campaigns and public rallies.


Rajinder Rana, coordinator, MC elections

Himachal Pradesh MP Rajinder Rana is mobilizing party workers, bringing in additional campaigning hands from Himachal Pradesh and Delhi to support the party’s campaign. Rana, appointed as the Chandigarh elections coordinator by the congressional high command, is the party’s chief crisis manager, quelling rebellions within the party and also attracting crucial leaders from rival parties. Rana is actively working to bring crucial Himachali voters to the party’s side. Rana also holds public meetings in neighborhoods to support party candidates.


Subhash Chawla, President of the State of Congress

A seasoned politician and former mayor, Subhash Chawla, who took over the party presidency only nine months ago, is at the center of shaping the party’s strategy. He coordinates and manages all the different party cells. Chawla is also responsible for ensuring that the requirements of the candidates in the field are met. He decides on the schedule of meetings of star party activists and where they should be best used.


Abhishek Dutt, coordinator

National spokesperson Abhishek Dutt is responsible for the party’s media and communication strategy during the municipal elections. South Delhi Municipality Councilor Dutt manages the crucial social media campaign and party ads.

The early days of PAA on the MC battlefield

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) made its electoral debut in the city during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when its candidate Gul Panag obtained nearly 23.97% of the total votes polled, and was in close competition with the finalist. , the veteran of the Pawan Congress. Kumar Bansal who had collected 26.84% of the vote. But subsequently, the party lost ground in the city with the fragmentation of its cadres and the weakening of the interest of the inhabitants. As a result, he was defeated in the 2019 elections to Lok Sabha, his candidate, former deputy Harmohan Dhawan, managing only 3.9% of the total votes cast.


Jarnail Singh, Head of State of Chandigarh

With the party relying heavily on the “Delhi model” to win the elections in Chandigarh, the Delhi deputy is the direct link between the party’s national leadership, including Arvind Kejriwal, and the local leadership. Singh is directly involved in the party’s campaigning, candidate selection and makes the Delhi model a cornerstone of the party’s electoral strategy. A good communicator, Singh occupies a central place in the party’s attempts to positively manage public perception.


Prem Garg, Chairman of the AAP Chandigarh Unit

A chartered accountant by profession, local AAP president Prem Garg mobilized party workers involved in planning the boardroom, in addition to reviewing party finances. He has been associated with the party since its inception in 2012. He is the face of the party, establishing links with different groups of citizens such as residents’ aid associations, non-governmental organizations and professional groups, as well as the administration. and the electoral commission. .


Pardeep Chhabra, co-leader

Chhabra joined the AAP only about four months ago, but has come to dominate the party’s political leadership in the city. He played a key role in the selection of candidates. Chhabra’s unceremonious exit from Congress resulted in a major increase in the strength of the AAP’s grassroots workers. Chhabra, former mayor of the city and former president of Congress, has a strong network in the city and is actively mobilizing the support of party candidates.


Chander Mukhi Sharma, Campaign Chair

Recognized even by his opponent as a savvy electoral strategist, Sharma shapes the party’s electoral strategy, even at the micro level. Sharma was instrumental in shaping the party’s manifesto – bringing a local twist to ‘Delhi Model’ based giveaways after investigating ‘what townspeople expect from parties’. He is the main proponent of the party’s idea of ​​the “alternative income generation model”. Competing from Ward 13, Sharma also helps other candidates in their feedback loop with voters and tailors their campaign to suit voters’ needs.

The BJP fights against the exercise of power

The ruling Bharatiya Janata (BJP) party is striving to improve its performance compared to the latest MC polls where its alliance won 21 of 26 seats. The “development” work and its “achievements” over the past five years are the cornerstone of its electoral strategy. The party has listed over 50 such accomplishments and this is the key message the party is aggressively pushing across different media platforms and door-to-door campaigns. Known for the strength of its cadres, the party faces a daunting challenge from more than a dozen rebel candidates as it attempts to overcome the party’s endemic factionalism once again ahead of election day. .

There is also the question of the accumulation of the anti-tenure factor over six years. Problems such as Chandigarh’s constant bad show in the Swachh Survekshan ranking are also a major challenge for the party.

A three-way fight between Congress, BJP and AAP makes his attempt to win much more complex and difficult.


Arun Sood, President of the State

Driving force behind the BJP’s decision to retain power, city party leader Arun Sood takes a hands-on approach to the party’s election campaign. Sood is involved in the day-to-day running of the campaign, coordinates with the different party cells and decides the day-to-day campaign tactics of the candidates. Sood is also a key player in the party’s overall media and election campaign strategies. The selection of candidates, the preparation of the manifesto and the response to rival parties also fall within the role of the party chairman.


Sanjay Tandon, former President of the State

Tandon, who was head of the city for 10 years, puts his knowledge and experience of the party base at the service of the mobilization of party workers. He chairs several party meetings each day to make sure the party ranks are giving their all as Election Day approaches. Tandon is an integral part of the party’s think tank on a variety of issues, from campaign strategy to management. He also acts as a crisis manager, persuading rebel candidates to return to the party’s fold.


Vinod Tawde, National Party Secretary General and Head of Elections

The main link between the city unit and the national leadership of the party, Tawde is the general manager of the party’s election campaign. It also keeps all party factions in line, making sure they all work in unison for the party’s victory. It plays a key role in streamlining interventions from outside – central leaders, leaders of other states, and brings about changes in campaigns, based on information and investigative data.


Saudan Singh, National Vice President

In charge of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh, Saudan Singh is developing the party’s strategy and tactics to win the elections. He is actively involved in conveying these strategies to party workers, from top to bottom. Singh’s work is centered on the organization and the workers. He also had the final say in the selection of candidates. The overall vision of the party and the orientations of the central leadership are also communicated to the party employee in the city unit through him.

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