Sampla's victory a prestige issue for disgruntled BJP faction
While for one section of the BJP led by its state president Kamal Sharma the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat has become a prestige issue from where senior party leader Arun Jaitley is in a neck and neck contest with former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh, ensuring Vijay Sampla's victory from the Hoshiarpur seat has become a major challenge for some disgruntled leaders of the state unit.punjab Updated: Apr 23, 2014 23:58 IST
While for one section of the BJP led by its state president Kamal Sharma the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat has become a prestige issue from where senior party leader Arun Jaitley is in a neck and neck contest with former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh, ensuring Vijay Sampla's victory from the Hoshiarpur seat has become a major challenge for some disgruntled leaders of the state unit.
While the campaign is being organised by all leaders belonging to the Kamal Sharma faction in Amritsar, here Rajya Sabha member Avinash Rai Khanna, state organisation secretary Ajay Jamwal, former minister and senior Dalit face of the party Chaudhary Swarna Ram and assistant media advisor to Punjab government Vineet Joshi, all anti-Sharma group leaders, have taken the campaign for Sampla in their hands.
Due to their political enmity with the Sharma group, former minister and Jalandhar Central MLA Manoranjan Kalia and former state president and Pathankot MLA Ashwani Sharma are also taking keen interest in Sampla's campaign.
Former minister and former Pathankot MLA Master Mohan Lal, who presently is in the Khanna group, has been made the party in-charge for the Lok Sabha elections.
While Jaitley is the political mentor of Kamal Sharma, all these leaders have their godfathers in the party high command.
Besides managing the campaigns, these leaders are toiling very hard to ensure Sampla's victory. Khanna, Sampla's mentor who earlier represented the constituency, is addressing 15-18 public meetings exhorting voters to vote for the party candidate.
Swarna Ram, two-time former MLA from Phagwara and feted as the first Dalit leaders of the BJP in Punjab, is making all-out efforts to ensure Sampla's victory despite not being physically fit.
Joshi is headng the media and campaign committee of Sampla's team.
State organisation secretary Ajay Jamwal, a an RSS man, is not on good terms with the Khanna group, he has managed to involve all the right-wing groups to get support for the BJP nominee due to his political enmity with the Sharma group.
Sampla, however, denied rift among the party leaders.
"I enjoy the full support of all leaders. But yes, it is a fact that all party leaders want to work for Jaitelyji because of his stature in the party. It is the party management which has assigned work to everyone as the Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur seats are equally important," he said.
Despite all efforts made by senior party leaders, Sampla has failed to get the whole-hearted support from former minister Tikshan Sud and Phagwara MLA Som Parkash — both close aide of the state president.
Sampla campaign managers are banking largely on Modi's rally in Hoshiapur on Friday.