Punjab food and civil supplies minister Adaish Partap Singh Kairon, who holds the legacy of his grandfather former chief minister of united Punjab Partap Singh Kairon and is son-in-law of CM Parkash Singh Badal, just managed to win by 59 votes in the 2012 assembly polls from the Patti segment. With SAD-BJP facing anti-incumbency, Kairon faces bigger a challenge this time.
Despite having lost the elections thrice, Congress candidate Harminder Singh Gill is again in the fray with his “Panthic” image from the Akali bastion. Kairon has never lost the assembly polls from here since 1997. Gill, who remained president of the All India Sikh Students’ Federation (AISSF), gave a close fight to Kairon in 2012 polls.
“Over 1,800 youngsters have died of drug overdose in past 15 years. Why the SAD-BJP is not taking steps to end this menace?” questions Gill.
Gill is also getting support from Tarlok Singh Chakwalia, who was the Congress nominee against Kairon in 2002 and former AAP leader Gurmahavir Singh Sandhu, who joined Congress a few days ago. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has fielded Ranjit Singh Cheema, who is trying to corner the Akali candidate over drug menace in the state.
“Unemployment is major reason behind drug addiction. Akalis have failed to set up industrial units here. Sugar mill has also been shut. If AAP is voted to power, this mill will be revived and other industrial units will also be set up,” says Cheema.
To secure their traditional stronghold, the entire Kairon family is making efforts.
It is for the first time that Kairon’s wife Parneet Kaur Kairon is campaigning for her husband. Badal also addressed a rally here on January 28 to seek votes for his son-in-law.
Referring Agro Food Park, bridge over Sutlej near Kot Budha village, distribution of ration under the Atta-Dal scheme and allotment of free LPG connection, the Kairon family is raising issue of development during the campaign.
“The SAD-BJP did it best to ensure development of this segment and deserves another chance,” says Kairon. However, opponents allege that Patti lacks basic amenities, including education, health and employment.