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Cakewalk unlikely for four-time Congress MP

punjab Updated: Apr 03, 2014 11:39 IST
Rajesh Moudgil

Four-time Congress MP Avtar Singh Bhadana faces a serious threat from three candidates who are contesting the Lok Sabha polls for the first time. The Congress’ arch-rival BJP has fielded its sitting MLA from Tigaon, Krishan Pal Gurjar. The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) candidate is leading lawyer RK Anand, a Punjabi, while the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) nominee is Rajinder Sharma, a Brahmin.

With both the BJP candidate as well as Bhadana from the Gurjar community, the Gurjar vote bank is set to witness a split. Though Bhadana hopes to muster votes of other communities too, especially Meos, bickering within the party could damage his prospects.

The Congress has its MLAs in four of the nine assembly segments in this LS seat — Raghuvir Singh (Pirthla), Mahender Pratap Singh (Badhkal), Sharda Rathore (Ballabhgarh) and Anand Kumar Kaushik (Faridabad). Also, two independent MLAs, Jaleb Khan (Hathin) and Pt Shiv Charan Lal Sharma (Faridabad NIT) have been made chief parliamentary secretaries by the Congress government in the state.

In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, Bhadana bagged about 2.6 lakh votes, defeating BJP’s Ramchander Bainda, even as ex-cricketer Chetan Sharma (BSP) had got around 1.1 lakh votes. The BJP had fought the poll in alliance with the INLD.

A part from community votes, BJP candidate Gurjar is also banking on the ‘Modi wave’. There are more than 2 lakh Gurjar votes in this constituency. Anti- incumbency against Bhadana is another factor that he hopes to cash in on.

However, the INLD is not with the BJP this time. Importantly, this LS seat has about 2.8 lakh Jat votes, re garded as the INLD’s ‘committed vote bank’. Gurjar is also eyeing about 1.8 lakh Brahmin votes and about 70,000 Aggarwal votes.

The INLD’s Anand is not only banking on votes of about 1 lakh Punjabis in Faridabad but also hopes to get Jat and other votes. The INLD has two MLAs in this LS constituency — Jagdish Nayar (Hodal) and Subhash Choudhary from Palwal.

Sharma, who harps on the social engineering plank of BSP supremo Mayawati, hopes to garner 4 lakh Scheduled Castes (SC) and Backward Classes (BC) votes, besides others, especially Brahmins.

The Aam Aadmi Party’s candidate, Purushottam Dagar, says he would get votes of all those who want change in the political system.