Pitted against Bollywood actor and three-time MP Vinod Khanna, Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa is selling his voters in Gurdaspur a new dream — having a chief minister from the area who will “undo the injustice” meted out by CMs from the state’s politically-important Malwa belt.
Bajwa’s brand-new poll plank of projecting himself as the chief ministerial candidate for the 2017 assembly polls is not only aimed at enticing voters and blunting anti-incumbency ire against him but it also has a message for his detractors within the party. Also, this forms the centrepiece of his election strategy to outdo Khanna, whom he dismisses as a “celebrity who is no more in his prime and has lost his star attraction”.
From a reluctant candidate, the Majha chieftain is now confidently playing the CM card, and with good reasons. “After Partap Singh Kairon, Punjab has had no CM from Majha.
The region comprises Punjab’s border districts and has suffered for 50 years owing to lopsided development, especially Gurdaspur. I want the people of Gurdaspur to understand the importance of this election.
So, I am telling them that the game-changer is not whom they elect in 2014 but whom they want in 2017,” he said while speaking to Hindustan Times on Tuesday.
“If they want to have the kind of development that Bathinda — the home turf of the ruling Badals — has seen in the past few years, they also need to have a CM from the area.
This election will be the stepping stone to my success as only when I get through this will I be able to take over the reins of Punjab in 2017.
We are looking forward to sweeping Punjab in the next state elections and that would happen under me as I am the Punjab Congress president.
What then stops me from being at the helm of affairs in the state? This is a very crucial fight for me. I cannot turn Gurdaspur into London but I can make Gurdaspur another Bathinda,” Bajwa said.