Tuesday, January 3, 2017

India: Incumbent politicians can’t take Qadian lightly


All three candidates will have to contend with the (Sucha Singh) Chhotepur factor. The AAP-turned-APP leader may be trying his luck from the adjoining seat of Gurdaspur, but he still wields influence in Qadian.

File photo: MP Partap Singh Bajwa with journalists in Qadian
Times of Ahmad | News Watch | UK Desk
Source/Credit: The Tribune India
By Ravi Dhaliwal | January 3, 2017

-- Cong clan faces uphill task in pocket borough 
-- The two Bajwa families have been at loggerheads for the past couple of decades.

There’s a buzz about Qadian, the international headquarters of the Ahmadiyya community. Of the seven Assembly seats in Gurdaspur district, this one is being discussed the most as it’s the stronghold of the Bajwa clan.

Sitting MLA Charanjit Kaur, wife of Rajya Sabha MP Partap Singh Bajwa, has vacated the seat for her brother-in-law, Fatehjang Singh. The latter faces a strong challenge from former Cabinet Minister and Akali veteran Sewa Singh Sekhwan and AAP candidate Kanwalpreet Kakki, a relative greenhorn who led ‘Pagdi Sambhal Jatta’, a campaign to help sugarcane farmers of the region get their arrears.

As Partap Bajwa’s prestige is at stake, he will pull out all stops to ensure a victory for his younger brother. Kakki is banking on the youth vote, while Sekhwan, the halqa incharge, has initiated development works to make his presence felt. The Dhanoa Pattan bridge, linking the sugarcane-rich Bet area with the Dasuya and Mukerian sugar mills in Hoshiarpur district, is being cited as a major initiative of the ruling SAD. This bridge, built on the Beas river, is facilitating the movement of sugarcane to the mills.

All three candidates will have to contend with the (Sucha Singh) Chhotepur factor. The AAP-turned-APP leader may be trying his luck from the adjoining seat of Gurdaspur, but he still wields influence in Qadian. Pre-delimitation, he had contested from the now-defunct Dhariwal seat, which now forms a part of the Qadian constituency.

The other renowned Bajwa family of Qadian is represented by Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, who was a two-time MLA from here before delimitation pushed him to the neighbouring seat of Fatehgarh Churian ahead of the 2012 poll. The two Bajwa families have been at loggerheads for the past couple of decades.

Tripat says the town is barely 18 km from Batala, the ‘steel city’ of Punjab, but no allied industry has been established here. “Not long ago, there were a dozen rice mills. Only three are left. The state government has killed the mills with its flawed policies. Our youth have to go to the neighbouring towns of Jalandhar and Amritsar to find employment,” he laments.


Read original post here: India: Politicians can’t take Qadian lightly


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