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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Not only nominees, but future of many stalwarts at stake in Doaba

Ravinder Vasudeva, Hindustan Times  Jalandhar, May 15, 2014
First Published: 22:39 IST(15/5/2014) | Last Updated: 22:44 IST(15/5/2014)

Friday's results of the Lok Sabha elections from the reserved seats of Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur will determine the future course of politics of many big leaders in Doaba region.

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For Chaudhary Santokh Singh, the Congress candidate from Jalandhar segment, the victory will mean rise in his political stature and can brighten the political career of his son and Youth Congress president Vikram Chaudhary, who single handedly managed his father's election campaign.

And if he loses his future political credentials would come under scanner as this would be his third consecutive electoral defeat. He has already lost two assembly polls from Phillaur assembly segment.

For SAD's Pawan Kumar Tinu, a close aide of deputy chief minister and SAD chief Sukhbir Badal, his victory would establish him as the prominent Dalit leader from the region.

Not only this, he will be the first SAD leader to bag the seat after 1996. Since he is a first-time MLA from Adampur and also a chief parliamentary secretary, the defeat will not dent his future prospects as much. 

For Mohinder Singh Kaypee, the Congress candidate from Hoshiarpur and former Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief, losing the seat would mean lowering his stature in the party (he is sitting MP from Jalandhar)

Of the nine assembly seats in the parliamentary segment, no Congress MLA won a single seat in 2012 assembly elections and even his wife Suman Kaypee faced humiliating defeat from the assembly seat of Jalandhar West.

He is learnt to have been shifted to Hoshiarpur due to his non-performance as an MP in his constituency. A win, however, will decidedly be a huge boost for him at a time when the Congress as a whole is in disarray.

For Vijay Kumar Sampla, BJP's first timer from Hoshiarpur, defeat could dent his career prospects since he is a greenhorn.

Interestingly, winning the seat is a matter of prestige for Sampla's political mentor and Rajya Sabha member Avinash Rai Khanna.

Khanna has actively campaigned in the constituency and the win would establish his managerial skills in the saffron party.

The party leadership is also keeping tabs on the work of former minister Tikshan Sud, who does not enjoy good relations with Khanna.

Close eyes will be on the result of the Jalandhar Central assembly segment represented by former BJP minister Manoranjan Kalia.

Denied a cabinet berth in the current SAD-BJP government despite being a senior, Kalia has been trying to become minister by trying to demonstrate his worth to get a lead from his constituency for Tinu.

With the BJP likely to make reshuffle in the state cabinet after the Lok Sabha results pressure is mounting to remove forest minister Chunni Lal Bhagat (86) from the cabinet.  

The number of votes the alliance candidate gets from the Jalandhar West constituency represented by him will decide his future in the state cabinet.

Being unavailable to both party leaders and workers due to his old age, he has become a soft target to many within the BJP.

Seen as one of his possible replacement in the cabinet from the Dalit community if Chunni Lal goes, former IAS officer and BJP's Phagwara MLA Som Parkash can strengthen his claims.

The election will also be an acid test for jails minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur from the Kartarpur segment which he represents, especially after his son Damandeep Singh's name emerged in the Bhola drug haul case.

Kartarpur is also counted as the weakest segment as per SAD's calculations.
 
Key factors in Doaba:

*AAP factor: It may eat into the votes of both the parties and upset their equations
*Caste factor: Worrisome for every party. Big spoiler in rural areas, particularly dominated by Dalits
*Dera factor: no open support by any deras to anyone. However, secret help by them can upset any candidate.
*Modi factor: SAD thinks it would help in overcoming anti-incumbency against the state government

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