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JULLUNDER

Pargat Singh will play a different ball game here. As a Congress candidate he will take on IK Gujral's son Naresh of the BJP-SAD combine.

india Updated: Apr 04, 2004 15:30 IST

Hockey star Pargat Singh will be playing an altogether different ball game this time. He would be a Congress candidate from here taking on former premier IK Gujral's son Naresh Gujral of the BJP-SAD combine.

Although experts consider Pargat as a winning candidate, the fight is not at all easy for him in view of the involvement of former premier IK Gujral, who still weilds considerable influence here. However, the Congress, in alliance with BSP maintains an edge. Gujral had won the seat twice.

In 1999, Congress' Balbir Singh had defeated Prabhjot Kaur of SAD by 34,566 in an 11-cornered contest. In 1998, Inder Kumar Gujral of Janata Dal had drubbed Umrao Singh of Congress by 131016 votes.

In 1996, the seat had gone to Shiromani Akali Dal whose Darbara Singh had defeated Umrao Singh of Congress by 18555 votes. In 1992, Congress' Yash had drubbed BJP's Jugal Mahajan by 11,3,813 votes while in 1989 Janata Dal's IK Gujral had trounced Independent Rajinder Singh
by 80,358 votes.

Gujral had been elected in 1989, when he made it to the National Front government as foreign minister. Again, till 1977, when another foreign minister, the unflappable Swaran Singh was defeated by the Akali Dal, it has always returned a Congressman to Parliament. Sardar Swaran Singh himself having been elected four consecutive times before being ousted. In 1980 and 1985, Major General Ranjit Singh Sparrow (Congress) represented the constituency.

The constituency with more than 13 lakh voters, is divided into nine assembly segments.

Caste Equation

The Dalits have over 40 per cent votes in the Jalandhar constituency. Hindus count 59% and SIkhs 40%. The Scheduled Castes are 31%. Ad Dharmis and Balmikis are dominant among the Scheduled Castes.