Two-time Congress MP Dr Arvind Sharma is relying more on his voters than his own party’s leaders in his bid to retain the Karnal Lok Sabha seat.
Despite his direct connect with the electorate, party insiders and political observers say that the MP faces a bigger challenge from within the Congress rather than the opposition.
Recently, Congress MLA from Ganaur and Vidhan Sabha speaker Kuldeep Sharma had accused Arvind of instigating a family to name him (Kuldeep) in connection with a tehsildar’s alleged abduction. Kuldeep had gone on record to say that he would teach Arvind a lesson ‘politically’. Son of late Congress leader Chiranji Lal Sharma, who remained the party MP four times from Karnal, Kuldeep has expressed his keenness to be politically active again in the constituency, where he was once the district Congress committee president.
Arvind’s sharp differences with party legislators Sumita Singh (Karnal) and Balbir Pal Shah (Panipat urban) are also well known.
Accessibility his forte
A native of Jhajjar district, Arvind was elected as an Independent candidate from Sonepat in 1996 before he joined the Congress and won in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls and later in 2009.
Jai Prakash Chopra, a resident of Nilokheri, says the MP had fixed days to meet the electorate. “While he meets people of Panipat on Tuesday, Arvind is available for residents of Karnal district on Friday. Once I accompanied my relative for work related to a delay in sanctioning of a power connection. The MP called up the executive engineer and directed that the applicant should not be harassed on frivolous grounds,” said Chopra.
An industrialist from Panipat says that Arvind understands the pulse of the people and leaves no chance of winning their applause on public platforms.
“On a number of occasions, Arvind has criticised Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in his presence about Karnal parliamentary segment not getting adequate development projects. Voters like his bold attitude. He is also available on the phone for his people,” the industrialist said.
Last month, he had a spat in full public view with the deputy commissioner and superintendent of police of Panipat. Traders of Panipat were protesting against the blocking of underpasses at certain points of the congested industrial city in order to streamline traffic on National Highway 1. Arvind sat on dharna with the shopkeepers and called up the DC on the mobile phone, while keeping its speaker on. The MP pulled up the officer and also told him to accede to the traders’ demand to open the blocked underpasses.
NCR demand met
Asked about his major achievements during the present term as MP, Arvind said he had played a key role in the approval of a domestic airport in Karnal, besides the Kalpana Chawla Government Medical College, and setting up of projects allied to the Indian Oil Corporation refinery in Panipat district.
He claims to have obtained sanction from the Centre for halt of trains in Karnal and Panipat districts and constructing railway overbridges in the constituency. His long-pending demand of covering Karnal in the National Capital Region (NCR) was recently met by the Centre.
Part 17 of 34,
Jitender Malik, Sonepat