9 of 24 candidates in Jalandhar segment from Balmiki community
After two candidates withdrew their names on the last day of taking nominations back from the Jalandhar parliamentary segment (reserve), now 24 candidates are in the fray of which nine belong to the Balmiki community which has a sizeable presence in the constituency.punjab Updated: Apr 12, 2014 23:10 IST
After two candidates withdrew their names on the last day of taking nominations back from the Jalandhar parliamentary segment (reserve), now 24 candidates are in the fray of which nine belong to the Balmiki community which has a sizeable presence in the constituency.
Now, the election fight has become more interesting in the constituency as the Balmiki community is apparently annoyed with the Shiromani Akali Dal for announcing Pawan Kumar Tinu, a Ravidassia, as its candidate.
Many community leaders were demanding another chance for Hans Raj Hans, who had lost to Congress candidate Mohinder Singh Kaypee in the 2009 parliamentary elections from this seat.
The community has 1.75 lakh voters in the constituency while the Ravidassias have around 3.50 lakh voters.
Democratic Bhartiya Samaj Party leader Vijay Hans, who belongs to the Balmiki community, was in the fray during the last parliamentary elections and got 1,156 votes.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) also played the caste card by fielding a school teacher, Jyoti Mann, from the same community. Her father is a safai karamchari.
Rajesh Padam, who was projected by AAP as its candidate earlier, is also a Balmiki.
After Jyoti was announced as the AAP candidate, many people in the community have come to her support, drawing a parallel with to party MLA Rakhi Birla from Delhi who also belongs to the same community.
Forty-year-old Love Kishore, who is contesting on the symbol of a cricket bat, also belongs to the community. He is a resident of Basti Danishmandan locality where the community has a sizeable chunk.
Kishore, the brother of lesser-known singer Rana Gill, had tasted defeat in the last state assembly election from the Jalandhar west segment.
Kishore said the SAD-BJP government failed to fulfill its promises made during the state assembly elections with the community and they will teach the ruling combine a lesson this time.
Former navy officer Jagan Nath Bajwa, a first-timer, also represents the community. Bajwa is known for social work in his locality. He claims that he wants to work for all the communities in the state.
Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) candidate Tarsem Peter, a known face of Pendu Mazdoor Union, also belongs to the Balmiki community. Peter had been in the fray both for Lok Sabha and assembly elections once in the past.
Other candidates Sukhdev Thapar, Hans Raj and Darshan, trying their luck this Lok Sabha election, also represent the community.
Political pundits say so many candidates from the Balmiki community may eat into the vote share of both the Congress and SAD-BJP combine.