The sympathy factor will play an important role in this constituency, but it may not be enough.
Gur Iqbal Kaur Babli and Satinder Kaur Kariha
Both Congress and SAD have fielded widows of two prominent politicians for the January 30 elections, in Nawanshahr.
Congress candidate Gur Iqbal Kaur Babli is the wife of former chief parliamentary secretary, the late Parkash Singh, while SAD nominee Satinder Kaur Kariha’s husband Jatinder Singh Kariha represented the constituency on three occasions (first in 1997) till his death a few months ago.
Parkash Singh, nephew of former agriculture minister Dilbag Singh, was elected as MLA in 2002.
Babli, 55, who belongs to the Saini community, has been actively participating in the political arena along with her son Angad Singh, a Youth Congress activist, since her husband died. Her organisational skills were evident looking at the number of party workers she gathered during a Congress rally presided over by state party chief Captain Amarinder Singh.
The Saini vote is a major factor in Nawanshahr.
Satinder Kaur Kariha, 62, reminds voters about the development works undertaken by her late husband, assuring them that she would complete his “unfinished development agenda”.
Kariha, not a particularly good orator, banks on the support of her two spokespersons, Pawinder Kariha and Sham Sunder Jadla, her husband’s close aides, to explain her agenda to voters.
“I want to work towards solving the problems of Nawanshahr including constructing a bypass on the Jalandhar-Chandigarh road so that commuters don’t need to pass through the town if they are heading for other stations,” she said. “We will also start the Rahon government hospital and serve people, just like my husband used to.”
Her daughters, daughter-in-law and sons-in-law are also pitching in with the campaign. Babli exudes more confidence and delivers long speeches against the state government, promising to develop the constituency as a model town with all civic amenities.
She, too, reminds residents that her husband spared no efforts in carrying out development works during his five-year tenure as MLA.
“I was into social service and always actively participated in (development work) with my husband. I will work for my constituency especially to remove traffic jams, ensure timely disbursal of widow pensions and implement the shagun scheme,” she said. “I will also start small scale industries to provide employment.”