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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Dec 2014

Reversal of fortunes: they won big battle after losing the smaller

Vikramdeep Johal, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, May 19, 2014
First Published: 08:43 IST(19/5/2014) | Last Updated: 08:55 IST(19/5/2014)

It’s like scaling Mount Everest after failing to climb a hill. In a major indicator of the topsy-turvy poll results in Punjab, as many as four candidates won the Lok Sabha battle after having lost in the 2012 assembly elections.

They are Aam Aadmi Party’s Bhagwant Mann (Sangrur), Congress nominee Chaudhary Santokh Singh (Jalandhar) and Akali stalwarts Ranjit Singh Brahmpura (Khadoor Sahib) and Prem Singh Chandumajra (Anandpur Sahib).

Two years ago, comedian-turned-politician Mann had contested from Lehra (Sangrur) assembly segment on the People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) ticket, but he was beaten by Congress heavyweight Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

Switching over from Manpreet Badal’s beleaguered PPP to the AAP was the masterstroke that led to a reversal of fortunes for Mann.

Santokh Singh had gone down to Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidate Avinash Chander by just 31 votes from the Phillaur assembly seat in 2012.

Despite the loss, he managed to get the Congress ticket this time as the party top brass decided to send sitting Jalandhar MP Mohinder Singh Kaypee to Hoshiarpur in a bid to neutralise the antiincumbency against the latter (Congress had lost all nine assembly seats under Jalandhar parliamentary constituency in the 2012 polls).

The move worked as Santokh defeated a strong rival, Akali MLA from Adampur Pawan Kumar Tinu.

However, Kaypee, who had been picked for Hoshiarpur to buck the anti-incumbency against party MP Santosh Chowdhary, lost to BJP’s Vijay Sampla. Interestingly, Kaypee had won the Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat in 2009 following a defeat in the 2007 assembly polls.

Brahmpura’s long political career seemed all but over when he was upset by Congress candidate Ramanjit Singh Sikki from Khadoor Sahib assembly segment.

However, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal reposed faith in his trusted lieutenant and gave him the ticket from Khadoor Sahib LS seat, replacing sitting MP Rattan Singh Ajnala, whose name had cropped up during the probe into the Jagdish Bhola drug racket.

Ex-minister Brahmpura didn’t let down the CM, making it to the Lower House for the first time.

The SAD took a big gamble when it fielded ‘serial loser’ Chandumajra, who had been trumped by Congress’ Kuljit Singh Nagra from Fatehgarh Sahib assembly seat in 2012, from Anandpur Sahib.

Having lost in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls and 2007 assembly elections as well, not many had given the ex-MP a chance a g ainst Congress veteran Ambika Soni.

Despite courting controversy with his ‘sexist’ remark about Soni — whom he called a buddhi aurat (old woman) — Chandumajra had the last laugh.

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