Sarabjit Kaur (72), widow of former Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) minister Captain Kanwaljit Singh who shifted her loyalties to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), is the lone woman candidate from SAS Nagar district’s three assembly segments — SAS Nagar, Kharar and Dera Bassi.
Sarabjit is contesting from the Dera Bassi constituency where she will take on sitting Akali MLA and realtor NK Sharma. The Congress is yet to announce its candidate but Deepinder Singh Dhillon is canvassing in the area even before the official announcement.
A housewife, Sarabjit entered politics after her husband’s death.
As per the 2011 census, the district has 4.65 lakh women with Dera Bassi alone there are 12,193 females as per the 2011 census. Dera Bassi was carved as a constituency after delimitation.
Captain Kanwaljit, who represented the Banur constituency four times in 1985, 1997, 2002 and 2007, was finance minister in the Punjab government.
After Kanwaljit died in a road accident in 2009, his son Jasjit Singh Bunny was elected as MLA in the bypoll. Sarabjit and her daughter Manpreet Kaur Dolly parted ways from the SAD alleging that the party had ignored them by giving ticket to NK Sharma.
The mother-daughter joined the AAP in August last year.
“Corruption, drug menace and land grabbing are major concerns in our constituency which was nurtured by my husband. Women are more concerned about education and health of their children and therefore my priority will be to address issues related to them,” said Sarabjit.
WOMEN GETTING RAW DEAL
Dera Bassi has been the only constituency which has seen political parties fielding women candidates.
In 2012, Manpreet Kaur Dolly had contested as an Independent from Dera Bassi in 2012 and managed to get around 10,000 votes. It was in 2002 that the Congress had fielded Sheelam Sohi from Dera Bassi, but she lost to Capt Kanwaljit Singh by 714 votes.