Moving in the hot and dusty terrain of rural Bathinda, Jasraj Singh Longia (Jassi Jasraj), the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate, is contesting against two stalwarts of Badal clan-SAD’s Harsimrat Badal and Congress’s Manpreet Badal. At this stage, his fate is as uncertain as that of all other candidates in the poll fray, but he is the centre of discussion in both Congress and SAD camps that think that he would eat into the other camp’s votes.
Akalis say Jasraj would take share of the Congress votes while the Congress feels he would cut into the Akali vote bank. “He would take away votes which otherwise are to be polled to the Congress because of Akali anti incumbency,” is the Akali logic.
“The votes which Akalis used to take away by intimidation would now be polled in favour of Jasraj,” says a Congress leader.
Interestingly, both Akalis and the Congress feel more votes for Jasraj would mean their victory.
It is also being alleged that he managed the AAP ticket without recommendation from the state unit, straight from the high command.
Moving from one village to another, wearing camouflage shirt with jeans, Jasraj has become quite a contradiction, as to what image he is projecting – that of a fauji or just another patriot. A heavy wooden pava (log) on his shoulder confuses the onlookers.
“Kuttu ga sab nu pave nal, jittan ton baad (he will beat up every one with the wooden log after getting elected),” a schoolchild standing at a village near Goniana remarks as the cavalcade passes by.
Jasraj as a school student was fond of singing Chamkeela songs; became Karran Jesbir when he sang Jawahar Wattal’s “Dhai lakh di” in early 2000, quite played during marriages.
He became Jassi Jasraj when he produced and acted in ‘Bikkar Bai Sentimental’; and is now contesting as Jasraj Singh Longia.
Longia, as he is known, is moving in villages of the constituency touching Haryana and Rajasthan, but his campaign lacks coordination.
Standing in an open jeep which gives the look of an army vehicle, Jasraj waves and makes the victory sign. It is the driver of the jeep who decides as to which way the campaign would go.
A large number of cars follow him in which young boys and girls raise pro-Kejriwal, pro-Jasraj slogans. The cavalcade catches the attention of the Election Commission officials who question Jasraj on the number of vehicles following him and also video-record the cavalcade.
In the absence of expert managers and PR firms, Jasraj is making himself heard and watched. The cars play his songs. Jasraj also had Yogendra Yadav, Jarnail Singh and India’s Got Talent participant Supreet Kaur Ghuman campaign for him.