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HindustanTimes Mon,29 Dec 2014

Contest on for LS elections: candidates step up campaigning

Anshu Seth, Hindustan Times  Ludhiana, February 28, 2014
First Published: 21:37 IST(28/2/2014) | Last Updated: 21:39 IST(28/2/2014)

From inaugurations, foundation-stone ceremonies, street meetings, rallies to closed-door discussions, followed by allocation of tickets to Supreme Court lawyer HS Phoolka by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and to sitting MLA from Dakha Manpreet Singh Ayali by Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), have made the contest an interesting watch.

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MLA Atam Nagar Simarjit Singh Bains and his brother MLA Ludhiana South Balwinder Singh Bains add up to become the "Bains factor", which plays a significant role in the political scene of Ludhiana. Having been refused the ticket for Lok Sabha, the Bains brothers are again under protest as the younger of the two, Simarjit is planning to contest the Lok Sabha elections independently.

Being a part of SAD, the Bains brothers had drifted away from the party during the 2012 assembly elections and won both the seats independently, but were later convinced to become associate members of SAD.

What was being seen merely as speculation by SAD workers and supporters of Bains brothers, is now gaining ground, as the posters carrying pictures of Simarjit are circulating in the market.

One of the pictures sports a slogan, "Takdi ne na Panje ne, kam aaona is bande ne", besides crossed pictures of SAD and Congress.

At the same time, though Congress has not formally declared union information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari's name for Ludhiana seat, but being the sitting member of Parliament, he had started constituency tour almost two months ago.

While Tewari's ardent supporters are terming his "win" from Ludhiana a cakewalk, there is another faction which has nurtured grudges against the MP and is adamant to harm his interests.

Campaigning for lawyer-turned-politician Harvinder Singh Phoolka is all about mass contact as he is giving his best shot by approaching maximum people in urban as well as rural parts of the constituency.

Unlike seasoned politicians, Phoolka is not making tall promises to set things right, which went wrong in the past, but he is taking up the current issues, which concern public in their day-to-day life.

His initiatives, including a cleanliness drive at the site of Fateh Rally of Narendra Modi in Jagraon, and protest march against firing incident in Sarabha Nagar on Thursday are being looked upon as genuine moves in the public interest.

Parminder Singh, a city resident, said, "A large number of residents from Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar have joined hands with Phoolka, as he is a ray of hope in hopeless circumstances prevailing in Ludhiana."

Despite having started campaigning against drugs and corruption a month and half prior to the formal declaration of his name, Dakha MLA Manpreet Singh Ayali is yet to get "unequivocal support" from his party leaders in the constituency.

Interestingly, instead of visiting other parts of the Lok Sabha constituency, Ayali is seen inaugurating projects and holding rallies in his assembly segment Dakha, which has given his opponents a chance to undermine his capabilities.

From rallies against drugs to inauguration of sewerage projects, Dakha assembly segment has remained the focus area for Ayali.

However, he is trying to garner support from various quarters, including that from market associations. Recently, he approached the shopkeepers in Rarewala market who had threatened to boycott parliamentary elections and promised to stand by them against the MC authorities. Not to miss the "honouring ceremony" organised by some shopkeepers in Model Town to acknowledge Ayali's achievements as zila parishad chairman.

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