Congress Kapurthala candidate Rana Gurjit says he never thought of joining politics | assembly-elections$punjab-2017 | Hindustan Times
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Congress Kapurthala candidate Rana Gurjit says he never thought of joining politics

With an empire worth Rs 170 crores, Rana Gurjit Signh is the richest candidate in fray for the assembly elections. His rise in politics and business has been fast and steady. In 1989, Rana migrated from the hilly areas of Uttar Pradesh (Now Uttrakhand) to Punjab to set up his business. Currently he is one of the leading liquor and sugar barons in the state.

assembly elections Updated: Jan 20, 2017 15:58 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
Congress candidate from Kapurthala Rana Gurjit Singh addressing a rally in Kapurthala on Thursday.
Congress candidate from Kapurthala Rana Gurjit Singh addressing a rally in Kapurthala on Thursday.(HT Photo)

With an empire worth Rs 170 crores, Rana Gurjit Singh is the richest candidate in fray for the assembly elections. His rise in politics and business has been fast and steady.

In 1989, Rana migrated from the hilly areas of Uttar Pradesh (Now Uttrakhand) to Punjab to set up his business. Currently he is one of the leading liquor and sugar barons in the state.

Born in Bazpur in Shaheed Udham Singh Nagar district of Uttarakhand (erstwhile UP) in an ordinary family, a matriculate Rana first started a paper mill in Ropar.

Starting from the paper mill, Rana has come a long way, with more than 10 giant companies dealing in sugar, polycot, leathers, distilleries, energy, power and green power.

His father was also an ordinary Congressman and remained close to former Uttar Pradesh chief minister ND Tiwari.

His encounter with politics was just by chance.He first met Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh regarding a business problem in 1999. During that time Captain was campaigning in Jalandhar for Adampur bypolls.

Despite having no links in Kapurthala, he was offered the seat and became MLA in 2002. In 2004, again on Amarinder’s call, he contested in Lok Sabha polls from Jalandhar and defeated former prime minister Inder Kumar Gujral’s son Naresh Gujral. In the bypoll, from Kapurthala seat, his sister-in-law became the MLA.

In the 2007 assembly elections, Rana’s wife Har Bans Rana became an MLA owing to his popularity.

In 2009, Rana unsuccessfully contested from the Khadoor Sahib Lok Sabha seat and became Kapurthala MLA in 2012. Rana, who resides in Jalalandhar and Chandigarh, has made Kapurthala his stronghold and owns a house in Jalandhar.

Such is Rana’s clout in the segment that in the seven elections, whenever Kapurthala segment has voted for assembly or Lok Sabha polls, Congress has never faced defeat from the segment. Known for his straight talk and love for golf, Rana made headlines when he had a heated argument with the high profile revenue minister Bikram Majithia during an assembly session of Vidhan Sabha.

When Amarinder defeated present Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, Rana was the main fund raiser and campaign manager of the PPCC chief.

“He is rich and mighty, but you won’t feel it when you meet. In his Jalandhar house, all his supporters have access to the entire house. He never flaunts his money,” said one of his supporter.

“I had never thought of joining politics and I sincerely feel if I would not have joined politics, I would have been a better businessman,” admits Rana.

Despite being the richest candidate, Rana has shown liability of Rs 81 crores in form of loans for his business. In Doaba, Rana has managed to get ticket for at least five of his supporters.