In the high pitched war for Patiala Lok Sabha seat, Patiala royal family scion Raninder Singh is fighting his own battle in Samana assembly segment to avenge his defeat from cabinet minister Surjit Singh Rakhra in the 2012 assembly elections. As compared to other assembly segments, the situation in Samana is much like the 2012 assembly elections.
After his long absence, barring some customary appearances, since the assembly election defeat, Raninder is hitting dusty lanes and meeting people and workers from dawn to dusk in Samana to undo the damage of the 2012 defeat, which not only tagged him as a ‘loser’, but also put a question mark on the supremacy of the royal family in Patiala.
He wants to undo the damage by reversing results from Samana for his mother and sitting MP Preneet Kaur, who had got him ticket for the assembly polls in 2012. For this, the son is putting up at Samana assembly segment only.
Cabinet minister Rakhra’s younger brother Charanjit Rakhra, the poll manager and man behind the for mer’s success in the 2012 assembly polls, is a g ain managing Samana segment, giving his sibling the choice to canvass in other areas of Patiala. In the last elections, Raninder was defeated by a margin of more than 7,000 votes, for which Rakhra gives credit to his brother.
As Akalis are claiming that Preneet will also be defeated like son Raninder, the royal scion is focusing hard to garner support for his mother in the area, from where Akalis are hoping to get a lead.
“The results will be an eyeopener for the Rakhras. People are eager to punish Akalis for their misgover nance and the Cong ress is getting an overwhelming response from all sections of society. Samana residents will give a major lead to the Congress,” Raninder told HT.
During his speeches and personal contact with people, Raninder raises the issue of “non-performance” of the SAD-BJP government in general and attacks Rakhra brothers in particular.
Raninder refuses to admit that he was absence from the segment and says he regularly visits the area. “If Akalis are making it as issue, where is the development they claim they have brought?” he said.
Anticipating a tough fight, Rakhra brothers are also firing in all cylinders, as they know that a lead from Samana would reap double benefit for them as it will not only strengthen their position at their home turf, but will also increase their stature at the party forum. From macro- to micro-level booth management, Charanjit Rakhra is holding the SAD fort in Samana.
“The last assembly polls were tough, as we were fighting the notion that the Congress is coming to power and that Raninder in son of perspective chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh. Still people defeated Raninder as they knew that it’s the Rakhras who have always worked for the area.
We will again ensure biggest margin for SAD candidate Deepinder Dhillon from Samana,” said Surjit Rakhra, who asked Charanjit Rakhra for margin and he replied “more than 15,000”.
Charanjit said people are well aware that the royal family members are seasonal politicians, who always made public appearances in the election time.
“Where was the royal family, including Raninder, for the last two years after assembly polls? The royal family makes an appearance only during the election time, while we are always available.”
“Development is our main poll plank as we are seeking votes on the basis of works done in Samana, but absence of Raninder for the last two years is certainly an issue. People must get answer to the question that why Raninder comes to them only in the poll season,” said Charanjit.