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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

Chandigarh: 17 in fray, but all eyes on actors vs ex-minister

Surender Sharma, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, April 09, 2014
First Published: 21:38 IST(9/4/2014) | Last Updated: 21:44 IST(9/4/2014)

The only seat in Union Territory Chandigarh is ready for the big battle on Thursday.
 
Chandigarh has 17 candidates in the fray, but all eyes are on three: Congress leader Pawan Kumar Bansal, Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP's) Gul Panag and Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP's) Kirron Kher.
 
Bansal, who has won the seat four times (1991, 1999, 2004 and 2009), faces a tough task, as talk of anti-incumbency is doing the rounds.
 
Both the AAP and the BJP have also tried to cash in on the Railgate controversy surrounding the former railway minister.
 
Bansal was forced to resign from the Union cabinet last year after his nephew was arrested on charges of accepting bribe from a senior railway official in exchange for promotion.  Bansal has denied any link with the scandal.

About 60% of Chandigarh's 600,000-odd voters are in the age group of 18-40. Accordingly, actors Kirron Kher and Gul Panag have hit the social network, Twitter in particular, in the campaigning phase.

Kirron Kher, who has faced opposition from a section of BJP leaders for being an 'outsider', is banking on the projected "Modi wave". Her husband Anupam Kher says she will stay in Chandigarh if she wins.
 
Former Miss India Gul Panag has also faced protests over her 'outsider' tag. But she is confident and says the AAP is the only credible and viable option.
 
They have also hogged the limelight following their Twitter row over Kirron Kher's age.
 
The Congress has also attacked the actors over the 'outsider' issue, claiming the role of an MP is important in Chandigarh since it is a UT.
 
From 1991, either the Congress or the BJP have been winning the seat.


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