Former chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal (Congress) is facing a tough challenge in her home constituency of Lehragaga this time, with Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) fielding finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa against her.
Bhattal, a five-time MLA, will have to keep her vote bank intact to continue her unbeaten winning streak since 1992.
While the SAD moved its four-time MLA Dhindsa from Sunam to Lehragaga, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) fielded Bhattal’s erstwhile loyalist Jasbir Singh Kudani against her. The contest in the constituency, which has traditionally been between the Congress and SAD, has become all the more interesting with the entry of AAP in the fray.
Bhattal claims she has undertaken 217 development projects in her constituency, including construction of bridges and irrigation facility for 39 villages. Moonak became a sub-division during her tenure as CM, she adds. “The SAD-BJP government has completely failed in education and health sectors. During my government, I established educational institutions and built flyovers but Dhindsa and Badals looted people during the past 10 years,” she alleges.
“Dhindsa is an escapist who ran from Sunam because he cannot face the voters of that constituency this time. The AAP candidate cannot win a sarpanch’s election. They will be competing with each other for the second slot,” she says.
DAUNTING TASK FOR DHINDSA
Dhindsa, who has been focusing Lehragaga for the past two years, claims to have undertaken several development projects in the constituency.
But to defeat Bhattal will be a daunting task for him.
“The entire picture of the area has been changed with development projects, including flyovers, concrete streets, irrigation projects and sewerage system. The people of the segment know who developed the area. Bhattal did nothing during her tenure. Now she is trying to befool the public,” he says.
FROM BHATTAL AIDE TO AAP CANDIDATE
Jas bir Singh Kudani, who was once considered very close to Bhattal, is now challenging her as AAP nominee.
He wants to build a “new Punjab” under the leadership of party supremo Arvind Kejriwal and Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann.
“The political structure of the Congress has collapsed, so I decided to join AAP and work with an honest person like Kejrion wal,” he says.
“Lehra is a backward area where people have been facing plenty of problems. Parents have to put their children in private schools as government schools in the region are good for nothing. Health services in the area are not adequate,” he adds.