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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

Wives of candidates in poll fray, sweat out too

Ravinder Vasudeva, Hindustan Times  Jalandhar, April 21, 2014
First Published: 14:41 IST(21/4/2014) | Last Updated: 14:45 IST(21/4/2014)

With about one week left for the campaign for the Lok Sabha elections to conclude and the poll pitch getting shriller and louder, the wives of the candidates in the fray from Jalandhar constituency are sweating out with no less zeal to reach out to voters.

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On Sunday, Hindustan Times tracked the wives of Santokh Chaudhary and Pawan Kumar Tinu, the Congress and SAD-BJP candidates respectively.

Politics is not new to Congress candidate Santokh Chaudhary’s wife Karamjit Kaur, a retired director public instructions (DPI) from the Punjab Board of School Education, as her husband is contesting the sixth election of his political career (five times he contested for assembly polls from Phillaur).

Strikingly vocal, the 62-yearold is canvassing for her husband for the second time. As a government employee, she was not supposed to participate in any political activity but after her retirement in 2011, she got the chance to canvass for her husband during the 2012 assembly elections.

Having worked as the principal of Sports College, Jalandhar ,came handy for her while campaigning.

With a large list of her old students and friends, she goes to their households to seek votes for the Congress.

“Campaigning during the 2012 assembly polls in Phillaur was a sort of training for me. This time, I am much confident and understand the pulse and mindset of people better,” she says, while canvassing in the Jalandhar Cantonment constituency.

She addresses three to five public meetings every day in the Philllaur constituency which has been the political base of her husband so far.

“Since Chaudhary saab is busy covering other areas, I have been given the task of motivating voters in our home constituency Phillaur,” she adds.

She attacks the ruling SAD-BJP government in Punjab with vigour during her speeches. “This government is a big failure. Their slogan is raaj nhi sewa (no rule but service). Actually, this government is about parna, parcha and goli (Siropa, FIR and bullet).

First, they will pressurise you to join their party and wear siropa. If not, they will register a false case against you. If you do not budge even then, they will attack you with bullets like they did in Amritsar few months ago and killed an ASI who refused to cooperate with the Akalis’ goons,” she said. Her campaign is mainly focused on women in urban areas.

TINU’S WIFE LOOKS AFTER ADAMPUR SEGMENT
Politics was never her cup of tea for SAD candidate Pawan Kumar Tinu’s wife Kulwant Kaur till she campaigned for her husband in Adampur in 2012 assembly polls, which he won by a margin of over 18,000 votes.

A housewife, Kulwant has now emerged as one of the key strategists for Tinu and her role in the electioneering is crucial since she handles af fairs of Adampur segment which Tinu represents as MLA. She spends first three hours in the morning doing door-to-door campaign in city areas and then she spends rest of the day in Adampur.

“Surprisingly, my husband never asked me to campaign for him. My role has been limited to house. But during the Adampur polls, it was I who asked him that I would canvass for him. He was surprised and happy,” she says.

Considered shy in her family, the same impression is nowhere seen when she addresses the voters. “Look at the loot the Congress spread in the country. Asin aam lok haan…..rozi roti hi sadi pehal hai..par is Congress di centre sarkaar ne galla hi ghut ditta..mehangai naal…(We are all common people. Employment and food are our basic needs. But this government killed us with inflation,” she said.

When she moves from one meeting to other, she always keeps on updating her husband about kind of response she got from people.

“My husband is a common man like you. He was not bor n in a political family. The Chaudharys have always remained at the helm of affairs in Doaba politics. They have not done anything for the region,” she adds. Her day routine ends around midnight when her husband reaches home and the family with others sit together for discussion.

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