Close to 36 candidates with Punjabi roots are in the fray for civic polls in Ontario, Canada.
The high-voltage municipal elections in Brampton and other Greater Toronto Area (GTA) cities, Toronto, Scarborough, Mississauga, Markham, North York and Vaughan, as well as other parts of Ontario, are scheduled for October 22.
Brampton has a huge immigrant population from India. All eyes are on Wards 9 and 10 where seven of the 10 contestants for the post of councillor originally hail from Punjab — Mangaljit Dabb, Dharamveer Gohil, Mahendra Gupta, Rohit Sidhu, Harkirat Singh (for city council) and Rajbir Kaur, Harnek Rai, Gurpreet Dhillon and Vicky Dhillon (for regional council).
The main contest seems between incumbent Gurpreet Dhillon and Vicky Dhillon, who was a city councillor for eight years till 2014. For the post of the trustee, Peel District School Board, there appears a keen fight between Balbir Sohi and Satpal Singh Johal.
Already, the signboard war and door-to-door campaign have reached its crescendo in the city known for a poor voter turnout, hovering between 35 and 36 per cent in the past. The candidates are busy either hosting or attending barbeque parties and weekend get-togethers.
Former minister Bal Gosal is the sole Punjabi-origin candidate running for the mayorship of Brampton where incumbent Linda Jaffrey, a former Member of the Provincial Parliament (MPP), is battling the Progressive Conservative Party (PCP) candidate.
Jaffrey, a former Liberal Party member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, has a clear edge over her closest rival as she has garnered the support of a section of the PCP unhappy with its own candidate.