Sanaur segment: Akali, ex-Akalis locked in a three-way contest | assembly-elections$punjab-2017 | Hindustan Times
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Sanaur segment: Akali, ex-Akalis locked in a three-way contest

In this remote constituency, which is considered to be a Congress stronghold as the people of this segment have been sending party’s heavyweight Lal Singh to Punjab assembly for record six times, is strangely witnessing this time, a unique situation: a contest between Akali and three former Akalis.

assembly elections Updated: Jan 30, 2017 15:44 IST
Vishal Rambani
(clockwise from left) Harinderpal Singh Chandumajra (SAD), Harinderpal Singh Harry Mann (Congress) and Kuldeep Kaur Tohra (AAP).
(clockwise from left) Harinderpal Singh Chandumajra (SAD), Harinderpal Singh Harry Mann (Congress) and Kuldeep Kaur Tohra (AAP).(HT Photos)

In this remote constituency, which is considered to be a Congress stronghold as the people of this segment have been sending party’s heavyweight Lal Singh to Punjab assembly for record six times, is strangely witnessing this time, a unique situation: a contest between Akali and three former Akalis.

As Lal Singh had to leave Sanaur due to Congress’ ‘one family one ticket’ rule and shift his base to neighbouring Samana to campaign for his son, Rajinder Singh, party high command found a replacement in Harinderpal Singh Harry Mann, who remained information commissioner during tenure of Akali government.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), on the other hand, has fielded party’s general secretary Prem Singh Chandumajra’s son Harinderpal Singh Chandumajra.

For the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party, Kuldeep Kaur Tohra, daughter of late Gurcharan Singh Tohra, is contesting for Sanaur assembly seat. Independent candidate Harmeet Singh Pathanmajra, is also said to be strong contender who might eat into SAD’s vote as he was the district president of Youth Akali Dal and turned rebel after he was denied an election ticket.

A pro-AAP atmosphere has emerged in a short time span, which has forced AAP leaders Arvind Kejriwal and Bhagwant Mann to spend time here, as AAP senses a victory in Sanaur.

But the voter is confused, as no one is able to guess who is cutting into whose vote bank in this contest of Akali and ex-Akalis.

The election is being contested on personal affiliations, but the silence of voters irks all candidates.

“It is sad that Lal Singh had to leave. This has left us with no option. Either we will have to vote for an Akali or an ex-Akali (Harry Mann). Former MP Preneet Kaur has assured us that she will personally take care of this constituency, thus we have started working for Harry Mann,” said Harvinder Singh, a resident of Sanaur.

CONGRESS CANDIDATE HARRY MANN

With constant efforts of Preneet and a high-pitched campaigning, Harry Mann, has managed to build a campaign in less than 10 days. Harry Mann was expecting a ticket from Samana.

In his address, Harry Mann promises voters that irrespective of poll result, he would not desert the constituency. And he promises development with the help of Preneet. “You’re (voters) my family and I will remain with you, and to ensure development of area,” he says. He is largely banking on the goodwill of the Preneet Kaur, who is spending time to canvass for him.

AAP NOMINEE KULDEEP KAUR TOHRA

In the fray is Kuldeep Kaur Tohra, who is trying to revive the political fortunes by riding on “AAP wave”. Daughter of Akali stalwart late Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Kuldeep left the SAD to join AAP. Sources say though Tohra lacks managerial skills, she has an effective team for her campaign in every nook and corner of the segment. She promises that she will bring a new era of development in the assembly segment.

SAD CANDIDATE HARINDERPAL SINGH

However, it is Chandumajra and his entire team, which is firing all cylinders to see a victory of son Harinderpal Singh. In last three months, Harinderpal had carried a development works of Rs 30 crore and also upgraded Dudhan Sadhan as sub-division. “You have seen me and my work during the last three months. It was just a trailer, I will spend Rs 500 crore, if voted to assembly,” he says.

Taking on his candidates, he says “People will not vote for Harry Mann, as they don’t know him. And voters will reject AAP candidates, as they (voters) know very well about Harmel Tohra and family, who have never taken care of voters.”

But the key is with the Lal Singh. Despite shifting the base to Samana, he has strong connect with Sanaur. “Wherever the votes of Lal Singh’s camp will swing, that party will have the edge; otherwise it is photo finish between Congress, AAP and Akali Dal,” said a poll pundit.

MAJOR ISSUES

Ghaggar floods are one of major issues, but it cannot be solely addressed by the MLA, as it needs policy decision at the Union level, thus no one is discussing this matter.