Rival nominees make personal attacks as poll pitch gets shrill
As electioneering for the Lok Sabha polls is picking up, the two prominent Dalit faces of SAD-BJP and the Congress who are in the fray in Jalandhar have started attacking each other, apart from raking up the issues of performance and failure of the state and the central governments and the so-called Modi factor.punjab Updated: Mar 31, 2014 09:34 IST
As electioneering for the Lok Sabha polls is picking up, the two prominent Dalit faces of SAD-BJP and the Congress who are in the fray in Jalandhar have started attacking each other, apart from raking up the issues of performance and failure of the state and the central governments and the so-called Modi factor.
After allotment of the Congress ticket to Chaudhary Santokh Singh, a former minister and younger brother of veteran leader Chaudhary Jagjt Singh, SAD candidate Pawan Kumar Tinu is trying to exploit an alleged sentiment in the Congress and the people, especially schedule caste community against the “dominance” of the Chaudhary family over the politics in Doaba region for the past several years.
Interestingly, the Chaudhary family has earned several enemies in the Congress rank and file and their community due to this perceived dominance. The SAD candidate, in his election meeting across the constituency, never forgets to rake this issue.
Since Santokh Singh’s father, late Master Gurbanta Singh, had also served as a minister in two successive governments in the state from 1956 to 1964, headed by Partap Singh Kairon, and also in the Giani Zail Singh government (1972-77), the family has been wielding influence in the Congress affairs. After Banta Singh, his two sons Jagjit and Santokh took the baton and maintained their dominance in the electoral politics of Doaba region.
Notably, Santokh Singh’s son Vikramjeet Chaudhary is at present the state chief of the Youth Congress.
“The Chaudhary family has exploited the scheduled caste community in Doaba the most just to remain in power. During the ticket distribution in the Congress ahead of the assembly polls, both Jagjit and Santokh from the Chaudhary family managed to get the party ticket. In the Lok Sabha elections as well, once again the candidate is now from the Chaudhary family,” Tinu says in election meetings.
“Santokh’s son is the state Youth Congress chief. His elder brother(Jagjit ) is the mother of corruption and was named as the main accused in the multcrore Ludhiana City Centre scam,” he alleges.
Like Chaudharys, Tinu too belongs to Ravidassia community, which has the biggest chunk of electorate in Jalandhar, with more than five lakh of the of total 15.13 lakh voters belonging to this community alone.
On the other hand, the Congress candidate is upbeat over the recent outburst of Sufi singer, the SAD candidate who suffered defeat in 2009 Lok Sabha polls at the hands of Mohinder Singh Kaypee (Cong) , wherein he termed Tinu a “fanatic” leader.
Though the timely intervention of SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal settled the dust raised by the singer’s remark before it could have affected the party prospects, Chaudharys have lapped up the issue and raking it up to have the naximum benefit. The Chaudhary’s poll managers are eyeing the large chunk of Valmiki community votes after SAD ignored Hans, who is the leader of this community. There are around 1.8 lakh Valmiki voters in Jalandhar.
In a whisper campaign launched against Tinu, the Congress is making desperate attempts to suggest Tinu’s involvement in infamous Talhan clashes between the scheduled caste community and Sikh Jats that took place in 2006. Tinu was in BSP at that time. “The image of the SAD candidate will remain the main issue. He is a tainted man and this was alleged by Hans, a SAD leader. The Singer has termed Tinu a fanatic and a leader whose emergence will be a big threat for the social fabric of Doaba”, said Vikram Chaudhary, son of the Congress nominee.
The party plans to come up with more blistering attack on Tinu using Hns’ statement.