The announcement of real estate developer Kulbhushan Goyal, 54, as Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) candidate from Panchkula constituency for the upcoming assembly elections has raised eyebrows as he was not even member of the party. District president of the party, Manoj Aggarwal, and former municipal council president, Seema Chaudhary, were also in race for the ticket.
“My name was number one on the list of candidates to be selected for the ticket. After retaining Pardeep Chaudhary for Kalka assembly constituency, the party leaders must have thought of not giving two tickets to members of the same family. I am from Gujjar community. The party wanted to give ticket to someone from ‘Bania’ community as there is huge vote from this community here. So, the party has considered the caste equation in deciding the ticket,” Seema Chaudhary claimed.
Manoj Aggarwal could not be contacted as his phone was switched off.
Admitting that he was not a member of the party but was chosen for ticket due to his social work, Goyal said the party thought that he was the right candidate. When asked about his social work, he listed polyclinic, schools, old age home and organisation of blood donation and eye and dental camps, besides running ambulance and funeral van services.
“I have started organising workers’ meeting to strategise the campaigning,” he said. On his agenda are education, health and banquet halls for marriages. “We have hardly constructed any new college in the district in the last 10 years. For every small treatment, residents have to rush to hospitals in Chandigarh and for marriages we have to go to Zirakpur banquet halls,” he said.
The INLD has taken a lead in announcing candidates whereas the BJP-HJC is yet to formalise seat-sharing arrangement and the Congress is mired in internal fighting. On the other hand, INLD has shown faith in Gujjar leader Pardeep Chaudhary, 53, from Kalka assembly seat. In 2009, Chaudhary had defeated Congress candidate Satvinder Singh Rana by a margin of 21,176. In 2005, he lost to Chander Mohan by a margin of 61, 456. In 1996, he came third and in 1993 he was runner up to Chander Mohan. “My agenda will be on improving education, health and employment scenario in Kalka,” said Chaudhary.
PANCHKULA WAS CARVED OUT OF KALKA SEGMENT
In 2009, Panchkula was carved out of Kalka assembly segment. It has predominantly ‘Bania’ and ‘Punjabi’ votes. In 2009, both the Congress and BJP gave tickets to Aggarwal community.
Then INLD had given ticket to Yograj Singh, father of cricketer Yuvraj Singh, who lost to Congress’ Devinder Kumar Bansal by a margin of 12, 260 votes. BJP’s Gian Chand Gupta was third, but the margin between him and Yograj Singh was 1,215 votes.