Sukhbir Badal may have smooth sailing in polls
Assembly Elections
Sukhbir Badal may have smooth sailing in polls
Last Updated: Saturday, January 21, 2012, 18:24
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Jalalabad (Fazilka): Punjab's Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal is expected to have a smooth sailing in the assembly polls from Jalalabad constituency, where he is up against a political greenhorn of Congress, but the question is can he better his own record margin of win set three years ago?

Sukhbir is relying mainly on the development works in the constituency bordering Pakistan and the promises he is making to voters to transform this predominantly agrarian area into another urban hub like Chandigarh while his challengers are hoping that community allegiance would lead to an upset.

Badal's main challenger is Congress' candidate Mukhtiar Singh who belongs to Rai Sikh community. But the Deputy Chief Minister's task might have been made a little easier by the presence of two Congress rebel contestants who are depending on en bloc votes from their respective communities.

Sukhbir had won from Jalalabad by a record margin of over 80,000 votes during the by-elections held in 2009.

In the by-poll, Sukhbir had defeated Hans Raj Jossan of Congress. However, Jossan, who had been a minister during the previous Congress rule, is this time contesting as an independent candidate. Jossan had won the 1992 and 2002 assembly elections from this seat.

Not only Jossan has revolted against the party's decision to field a new face, another rebel Congress leader Gurbir Singh Sandhu, who was DCC President, is also in the fray making things more difficult for Mukhtiar Singh.

Mukhtiar is banking mainly on the support of his own community who have sizeable chunk of around 55,000 votes in this segment.

While Mukhtiar represents Rai Sikhs, Jossan belongs to Kamboj community and Sandhu represents Jatt Sikhs.

Both Kamboj and Jatt Sikhs also enjoy significant presence here, which could be a matter of concern for Sukhbir if community loyalty plays a major role in polling pattern.

Though Sukhbir is hopeful of repeating the similar performance this time too, things might not be as easy or as comfortable what it seems to be.

Residents of the constituency feel that while the basic infrastructure, including water supply, sewerage network besides construction of link roads to villages has seen an improvement in the last three years, the town still retains an agrarian look devoid of any major industry.

Sukhbir has even managed to rope in few senior Congress leaders like Ashok Aneja President Municipal Committee who along with his supporters has pledged unconditional support to SAD.

Sukhbir is promising world class health infrastructure for this border town of Jalalabad, saying he would bring Chandigarh PGI-like institution here in the next five years

He has also promised to make Jalalabad an international rice hub, set up an university here and promised to get a separate border area package so that multinational companies could be attracted to set up their ventures in this area to open new vistas of employment for local youth.

Sukhbir has also promised to have the opening ceremony for next edition of World Cup Kabaddi in this town.

"My aim is to bring Jalalabad on world tourist map and make it another Chandigarh so that every resident of the city can feel proud of this border town" says Sukhbir.

But not everyone is impressed by the promises of developmental works by SAD and pointed out that several projects announced by Sukhbir earlier are yet to see the light of the day.


First Published: Saturday, January 21, 2012, 10:58



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