A seasoned politician having more experience over his close rivals from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Congress candidate Sunil Jakhar is hoping to win the assembly elections fourth time in a row from the Abohar segment.
Jakhar successfully contested his first assembly elections from Abohar in 2002 to hold the family fort when a close confident of the family, Sudhir Nagpal, jumped into the fray as an Independent. Though the 2007 and 2012 polls remained a cakewalk for Jakhar, liquor baron Shiv Lal Doda, who contested as an Independent, gave tough competition to the Congress veteran in 2012 by securing more than 45,000 votes.
BJP candidate Arun Narang, who belongs to the Arora community which has 60,000 votes in the segment, is not only enjoying the support of local factions of the party but also from Doda, who is presently lodged in jail in a murder case.
Doda is still in the fray as an Independent as he could not withdraw his candidature on the last day of withdrawal of nomination, a day after he announced he would opt out in support of the BJP candidate. However, he has asked his men to support Narang.
Fazilka-based Atul Nagpal, who is the AAP candidate, was a surprise pick as party cadre termed him an “outsider”.
“Abohar suffered a lot in the 10-year rule of the Akali-BJP government and I had to move the Punjab and Haryana high court to get basic amenities, including sewerage system and fire brigade, for Abohar,” said Jakhar.
“Jakhar and their family have ruled Abohar for several decades but failed to provide basic facilities to the people. Voters have now decided to show the door to the Jakhars,” said BJP’s Narang.
“The Akali-BJP combine and the Congress have befooled the people for decades. They want a change this time and are supporting the AAP,” said Nagpal.