PM visit does little for Cong image

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Saturday's visit to the city has left the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) high and dry. In the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, where much is at stake, the PM made no new any announcements for the city. Even the leaders of the local unit were left feeling sidelined.

Firstly, the request of the local unit of the Congress for an appointment with the PM failed to get a response. President of CTCC, B B Bahl had sent a request to the Prime Minister's Office for a meeting - his name was also not among those who welcomed Singh at Chandigarh Airport. Even though the names of a number of leaders from the Punjab unit of Congress were cleared by PMO to receive the PM, Bahl was not even an invitee at the lunch hosted at the Raj Bhawan. Thereafter, Bahl chose to stay away from the function at Dhanas.

Apart from local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal, the only other person from Chandigarh Congress at the airport to receive the PM was Mayor Subhash Chawla. Infact, earlier it was proposed that a chair for Chawla would be kept on the dais at the Dhanas function. However, this too was not agreed to by the PMO. Chawla was intimated about this in advance.

The Congress is still trying to revive from the setback it received after the Rail bribery scam was unearthed. Following the controversy, MP Bansal had to resign from the Railways ministry.

The unearthing of the scam gave a new lease of life to the city unit of BJP, while the Congress is making attempts to revive itself. In such a situation, the visit of the PM did not do much to boost the Congress unit here.

The allotment of the tenements in Dhanas is also proving to be a double-edged sword for the Congress. While a section of beneficiaries are satisfied at being provided the tenements, there are others who complain about inadequate space. Another section has refused to accept the tenements. Meanwhile, the residents of the villages have expressed their resentment at encroachers being allotted houses, even though the villagers are not allowed to undertake construction on land that is outside the lal dora.

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