HT Image
HT Image

Khanna hopeful, Bajwa in a dilemma

The vanquished is keen to avenge the defeat of 2009; the victor seems to be looking for a safe passage out of the electoral battle of 2014.
By Kamaljit Singh Kamal and Vinay Dhingra | Hindustan Times, Gurdaspur
UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2014 12:10 AM IST

The vanquished is keen to avenge the defeat of 2009; the victor seems to be looking for a safe passage out of the electoral battle of 2014.


This precisely sums up the race for the party ticket within the BJP and the Congress in the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha constituency. While film star Vinod Khanna has put his 2009 defeat on the backburner and is leaving no stone unturned to get the BJP nomination, his rival, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Partap Singh Bajwa is in a dilemma whether to contest or not.

Perhaps at the back of Bajwa’s mind is one name - not of Khanna, who in all likelihood will be picked by the BJP, but of his predecessor, Capt Amarinder Singh, who has time and again indicated his disliking of his successor. Bajwa is apprehensive that the former chief minister may play spoilsport and try to ensure his defeat through his supporters in the constituency.

In the last Lok Sabha polls, Bajwa had scraped past Khanna by a margin of a little over 8,000 votes. It was Khanna’s first defeat after three consecutive victories from Gurdaspur.

The two stalwarts had come face to face only in 2009 as Bajwa had preferred to confine himself to contesting only assembly polls and that too with an impressive record. On the other hand, the BJP brought the cine star all the way from Mumbai in 1998 for taking on the then sitting MP and Congress stalwart Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, a former central minister.

Khanna ended Bhinder’s streak of five straight victories, to make his maiden entry into Parliament. Thereafter, he recorded impressive wins in the next two elections in 1999 and 2004, before losing to Bajwa in 2009.

Race in Congress
Bhinder’s sudden demise led the Congress to look for a suitable candidate and there was no one better than Bajwa.

“If we have to win Gurdaspur again, then the best bet is Bajwa. Irrespective of differences, all senior Congressmen will back him,” said a party MLA.

Ask Bajwa and he says, “I am not running away from the contest, neither am I a coward. If the party wants me to contest, I would do so and would win.”

The reasons being put forward for his choosing to opt out of the contest are that contesting would mean remaining confined to Gurdaspur. His duty as the PPCC chief is to canvass support for the party candidates in every nook and corner of the state.

While Bajwa may not have forwarded his name as a contender, those who have are all lightweight, with some not even well known in their respective areas. The foremost among them is former minister Raman Bhalla from Pathankot. He is close to Bajwa but is a known figure only in the Pathankot constituency.

The other contenders are Capt Vikram Singh, who has remained in the Janata Party and also in the BJP. He is a Rajput and his contention is that there are nearly 1.2 lakh Rajput voters in Pathankot district and also a lot of ex-servicemen. However, he is alien to the district and is not known among the Congress leaders of the district.

Then there is Amardeep Singh Cheema, a youth leader and national vice-president of the Nehru Yuva Kendra. He is banking on the support of his father, Madan Mohan Singh Cheema, who enjoys a good rapport with central Congress leaders.

BJP contenders
On the BJP side, the only contenders are Vinod Khanna and Swaran Salaria, a Mumbai-based businessman, who is close to a couple of senior national BJP leaders. The race in the BJP is a repeat of 2004.

With his support in the national leadership of the BJP and his ability to win back the seat, the Bollywood star’s nomination looks certain. To his credit, he claims that during his tenure as MP, he had got a number of important development works initiated. These included two bridges over the Ravi and Beas.

The Salaria group, on the other hand, points to Khanna’s limited stay in the constituency . The film star made his intentions clear in June last year when he made his presence felt in the rally addressed by Gujarat CM Narendra Modi at Madhopur and then at BJP chief Rajnath Singh’s meeting in Amritsar.

Salaria, despite being based in Mumbai, does not consider himself to be an outsider. He hails from Chohan village in Pathankot district. He is a Rajput, a community with a sizeable vote bank in Pathankot district.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
The budget promises significant increase in capital expenditure, and focus on social security net, agri sector, farmers welfare, women, weaker sections and education (HT photo)
The budget promises significant increase in capital expenditure, and focus on social security net, agri sector, farmers welfare, women, weaker sections and education (HT photo)

Punjab Budget: Populism at play as Capt govt rolls out doles ahead of polls

By Pawan Sharma, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON MAR 09, 2021 02:04 AM IST
FM Manpreet Badal unveils 1.68 lakh cr budget, dedicates it to farmers protesting at Delhi borders against Centre’s new agri laws, no new taxes levied
Close
Passport racket: Zirakpur hub of fake addresses
Passport racket: Zirakpur hub of fake addresses

Passport racket: Zirakpur hub of fake addresses

By Hillary Victor, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 12:55 AM IST
Probing the racket busted four months ago, Mohali police SIT has traced 143 fake passports with addresses of various housing societies in Zirakpur
Close
The lighting of the ceremonial lamp during the International Women’s Day celebrations at Government College of Yoga Education and Health in Sector 23, Chandigarh, on Monday. (HT Photo)
The lighting of the ceremonial lamp during the International Women’s Day celebrations at Government College of Yoga Education and Health in Sector 23, Chandigarh, on Monday. (HT Photo)

Chandigarh yoga college celebrates Women’s Day

By HT Correspondent, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 12:49 AM IST
The Government College of Yoga Education and Health in Sector 23, Chandigarh, celebrated International Women’s Day on Monday
Close
Chandigarh sees 60% surge in weekly Covid cases
Chandigarh sees 60% surge in weekly Covid cases

Chandigarh sees 60% surge in weekly Covid cases

By Amanjeet Singh Salyal, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 12:47 AM IST
Positivity rate also shot up to 4.5% in the first week of March, more than double of that in the first week of February
Close
Students protesting outside the vice-chancellor’s office at Panjab University in Chandigarh on Monday. (HT Photo)
Students protesting outside the vice-chancellor’s office at Panjab University in Chandigarh on Monday. (HT Photo)

Panjab University students demand reopening of campus

By HT Correspondent, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 12:36 AM IST
Students affiliated to the National Students Union of India (NSUI) and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) held separate protests outside the office of Panjab University vice- chancellor Raj Kumar on Monday and demanded the reopening of the university
Close
Guramrit Singh (second from right) celebrates with his family in Mohali on Monday. (HT Photo)
Guramrit Singh (second from right) celebrates with his family in Mohali on Monday. (HT Photo)

Mohali lad among 6 in country with 100 percentile in JEE Main

By HT Correspondent, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 12:35 AM IST
A student of Bhavan Vidyalaya, Chandigarh, Guramrit wants to pursue engineering in computer science from Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
Close
General manager of Northern Railways, Ashutosh Gangal, during the annual inspection of Ambala division on Monday. (HT Photo)
General manager of Northern Railways, Ashutosh Gangal, during the annual inspection of Ambala division on Monday. (HT Photo)

Railway line to connect Chandigarh and Mukerian

By HT Correspondents, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 12:34 AM IST
The railway line from Chandigarh station that currently goes up to Daulatpur Chowk in Himachal Pradesh will be extended by about 53km to reach Mukerian in Punjab
Close
The radio station at the Ambala Central Jail is run by six inmates. (HT PHOTO)
The radio station at the Ambala Central Jail is run by six inmates. (HT PHOTO)

Inmates can now request a song to Ambala jail RJs

By Bhavey Nagpal, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 12:33 AM IST
Almost a week after its inauguration, the radio jockeys (RJs) at the Ambala Central Jail have started taking requests for favourite songs from inmates under the programme “Aap ki farmaish”
Close
Agnihotri said that the state’s 2021-22 budget presented in the state assembly by chief minister Jai Ram Thakur indicated the bankruptcy of the state government (HT Photo)
Agnihotri said that the state’s 2021-22 budget presented in the state assembly by chief minister Jai Ram Thakur indicated the bankruptcy of the state government (HT Photo)

Leader of opposition slams govt over financial mismanagement

By HT Correspondent, Shimla
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 11:21 PM IST
Leader of opposition Mukesh Agnihotri, while initiating a debate on the state’s budget for the year 2020-21, slammed the government for financial mismanagement
Close
Congress legislator’s along with CPI(M) MLA Rakesh Singha staging a walkout from the assembly during the budget session in Shimla on Monday. (HT Photo)
Congress legislator’s along with CPI(M) MLA Rakesh Singha staging a walkout from the assembly during the budget session in Shimla on Monday. (HT Photo)

Amid walkout, HP Assembly adopts Bill providing for MC polls on party symbol

By HT Correspondent, Shimla
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 11:17 PM IST
Communist Party of India (Marxist) legislator Rakesh Singha said the Bill that was brought in haste was driven by political motivation rather than legal logic
Close
Monday’s tally in the state has been the highest since August last year and this is the fourth time this year that the daily cases have gone above the 1,000-mark.(Bloomberg file photo. Representative image)
Monday’s tally in the state has been the highest since August last year and this is the fourth time this year that the daily cases have gone above the 1,000-mark.(Bloomberg file photo. Representative image)

Punjab logs 1,239 new Covid-19 cases, highest in 7 months; tally nearing 190,000

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Harshit Sabarwal, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2021 10:43 PM IST
Out of the fresh cases registered in the state, Shaheed Bhagat Singh (SBS) Nagar contributed the maximum (271) followed by other districts such as Hoshiarpur (200), Jalandhar (191), Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar (107) and Ludhiana (92).
Close
Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal before presenting the Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government’s fifth budget as the state heads for elections early next year. (HT Photo)
Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal before presenting the Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government’s fifth budget as the state heads for elections early next year. (HT Photo)

Punjab to waive farm loans worth 1,186 cr of 1.13 lakh farmers

PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 01:02 PM IST
State finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal makes populist announcements as he presents the fifth budget of Capt Amarinder Singh government as Punjab heads into election year
Close
An all-woman contingent of Himachal Pradesh Police during a motorcycle show in Shimla to mark Women’s Day. The state is among the first in the country to have recruited women in its police service. (HT Photo)
An all-woman contingent of Himachal Pradesh Police during a motorcycle show in Shimla to mark Women’s Day. The state is among the first in the country to have recruited women in its police service. (HT Photo)

Himachal celebrates role of women police personnel

PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 10:11 AM IST
28 officers to be felicitated as all-women contingent, motorcycle show take centrestage on the Ridge
Close
Women protesters at a grain market in Barnala district before leaving for Delhi on Sunday. (HT PHOTO)
Women protesters at a grain market in Barnala district before leaving for Delhi on Sunday. (HT PHOTO)

Hundreds of Punjab women leave for Delhi’s Tikri border to mark International Women’s Day

By Avtar Singh, Barnala
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 01:44 AM IST
Activists under the banner of Samyukt Kisan Morcha travel in buses, tractor-trailers and other vehicles via the Khanauri border in Sangrur district
Close
Farmers shout slogans at the site during a protest against new farm laws at Singhu border near Delhi on Sunday. (ANI)
Farmers shout slogans at the site during a protest against new farm laws at Singhu border near Delhi on Sunday. (ANI)

Women to take centrestage at farmer protest sites at Delhi borders today

By Press Trust of India, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 01:42 AM IST
Thousands of women farmers especially from Punjab and Haryana will congregate at Delhi’s borders on Monday and the day will be entirely dedicated to women farmers, activists and students, farmer leaders said
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP