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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014

GUL, PAWAN AND KIRRON

Khushwant Singh, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, April 01, 2014
First Published: 08:30 IST(1/4/2014) | Last Updated: 14:55 IST(1/4/2014)

Pawan, Kirron and Gul sound like words more from a seminar on environment in Maharishi University than a political slugfest in Chandigarh. However, how much environmentally soothing or close to nature these words may sound, the reality is that these three words have taken over every discussion be it the bed room, dining room drawing room, dhaba, bar or the social media: the hot topic being — who takes the city beautiful seat — wind, rose or ray.

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I almost witnessed a clash of sorts on my Facebook wall, after I posed the question that between the three, who would take the Chandigarh seat?

Pawan Bansal has been dominating the political scene of Chandigarh for the past 15 years, but an El Nino effect seems to be taking charge of the political climate of this city, which for the first time is witnessing women in the fray.

Not one, but two and that too from the glamour world. The rising temperature is giving a feeling of a political oscillation of sorts? So, will Gul’s charm and glamour distract the likes of me, or is it Dr Dang’s wife who is going to put Chandigarh in Narendra Modi’s kitty in the latter’s bid to the race course road.

Lest I be accused of turning this conversation into some sort of a filmy talk, let’s get to the brass- tacks, as to what people expect of their leaders other than just hyperbole. Frankly speaking, people want an honest, humble, intelligent, vibrant and a hard working member of parliament, who can address the challenges of city in a holistic manner and is available to the public.

This leads us to an interesting list of merits and demerits of all the candidates, based on which the public is going to choose its representative.

For example if the sitting MP faces the challenge of being sullied in a corruption case involving his nephew, the two Bollywood heroines have the tag of not being locals even though they are born and raised in the city. So, what does the public think is a greater vice, being tainted or being an outsider?

Gul Panag, to my mind overcomes this drawback convincingly through her other strengths, which include her stands on critical national, gender and social issues and the youth connect. So what if they are over a tweet.

As for Kirron Kher, I don’t know much about her, except that she is the quintessential mom who made pranthas in Rang De Basanti. However, having said that, she appears to be someone who can take a stand on issues.

I say that because I have watched her tick off Saajid Khan in a TV programme where he had tried to humiliate young Sikh children who were performing Gathka on the programme India’s Got Talent.

Regarding her political connections with the city, she claims to have played a vital role for the BJP in the local municipal elections last year. Oops, wasn’t she received with black flags by her own party members?

As for Pawan Bansal, he, in spite of hitting a low, has a reputation of being approachable. Not that approachability is the greatest quality in a parliamentarian when it comes to framing law, but it is a great vote bank strategy, which Bansal has mastered and which has held him in good stead.

Obviously, the riding factor is not only going to be wind, ray and rose alone. Rahul, Modi and Kejriwal will influence the mind of the voter more than anything else. Their karma will be on the voters’ mind when the voting takes place.

As we discuss the differences, in a reply to my Facebook question — who will take the Chandigarh seat — someone finding similarities wrote, ‘let the best dimple win’. Allow me to edit it to — let the best candidate win. Vote with a conscious and Chandigarh will get the candidate it deserves.

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