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HindustanTimes Thu,24 Apr 2014

Political influence in rural areas moved Mann away from urban voters

Vishal Joshi, Hindustan Times  Karnal, July 15, 2013
First Published: 19:34 IST(15/7/2013) | Last Updated: 19:36 IST(15/7/2013)

Tejinder Pal Mann, better known as Teji in social and political circles shared a love-hate relationship with the Congress.After being elected for the first time in the assembly elections from Pai in Kaithal district 1991, Mann was inducted in the Bhajan Lal government.

But, he quit Congress in 2005 only to rejoin the party before the 2009 assembly elections.In 1991, Mann was given the portfolio of industrial training.

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The Pai Assembly constituency came into existence in 1977. It was Mann who won the Pai seat for the Congress for the first time in 1991.He defeated Janta Party candidate Nar Singh Dhanda by over 10,000 votes.

Earlier, the Lok Dal (now the Indian National Lok Dal) had won the seat twice in 1982 and 1987 elections while Vishal Haryana Party headed by Rao Birender Singh won the seat in the 1977 elections.After the Congress denied him a ticket, Mann turned a rebel and successfully contested as an independent candidate from Pai in 2005.

He defeated INLD's Rampal by 6,502 votes. During his term as an independent, Mann came closer to chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who was at the helm of affairs for the first time.In the 2009 state elections, Mann was fielded as a Congress candidate from Kalayat in Kaithal where he faced defeat at the hands of Ram Pal Majra of the INLD.

But using his close proximity to the state Congress leadership, in 2010 Mann was unanimously elected as president of Kaithal district Congress.Political observers said that for the last several months he was gearing up for contesting the next elections from Kalayat.

Mann, who belongs to an affluent family, had first contested from Pai in 1982.What amazes everyone was the fact that despite being a permanent resident of Karnal, Mann had always chosen the adjoining Kaithal district as his political battlefield.Dr Ranbir Singh, a former dean, faculty of social studies of the Kurukshetra University said that it was probably political influence of Mann's family in the rural areas that moved him away from the urban voters.

He said that Mann's uncle Bansi Gopal had represented Karnal constituency in the Punjab Assembly as an independent member in 1920.In the pre-partition time Karnal constituency comprised of the present districts of Karnal, Panipat, Kurukshetra and Kaithal.

“It was the influence of Bansi Gopal in the constituency that his family benefited politically for the next almost 90 years. Gopal was engaged in the management of various banks and he was a very well respected man,” said Singh.Teji's uncle Randhir Singh was a prominent leader of Unionist Party co-founded by Sir Chhottu Ram.

After India's independence, Randhir joined the Congress and became the chairman of the Karnal district planning board.Randhir's son Surinder Singh won from the Pai constituency as a Congress candidate in 1968 and 1972.Teji's aunt Janki Devi had won from Indri segment of Karnal district in 1991 as a candidate of Bansi Lal's Haryana Vikas Party.

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