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Saturday, May 18, 2019

Preneet, Rakhra evenly tied


Preneet, Rakhra evenly tied

Aman Sood

Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 17

Following back-to-back rallies and personal meetings by Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, the past one week has been a game-changer for Patiala Congress candidate Preneet Kaur, who was initially facing stiff competition from SAD-BJP candidate Surjit Singh Rakhra and Nawan Punjab Party candidate Dr Dharamvira Gandhi.

Issues like corruption in the Municipal Corporation, funds for solid waste management and opposition against some local leaders are the main issues in this key battle. Meanwhile, Dr Gandhi is hopeful that those angry with the traditional parties will opt for him, as majority of his party politics is without a cadre. 

In the past one week, Capt Amarinder Singh led from the front and has been instrumental in ensuring that the “entire party cadre works” together. “We will provide one lakh jobs and industry to Patiala in the coming two years. I will ensure that funds are not a problem for Patiala,” he announced at his rallies.

Understanding the mood of the electorate, Preneet has made sure that she keeps her “unpopular coterie” at an arm’s length and has been seeking votes on “development”. “I assure you that the next two years will have the maximum fund flow for Patiala,” she says. 

Though considered a dark horse, Rakhra has also pressed the political accelerator in the past one week, addressing more than 30 worker meetings everyday. His campaign has been planned away from the media glare and despite no Union minister turned up for his campaign, he relied on SAD president Sukhbir Badal and his father Parkash Singh Badal to address a rally each.

“I would not accept any financial benefits as an MP and instead would contribute the same amount from my own pocket to be used for the welfare of the constituency,” he says.

Though addressing the smallest gatherings in villages, incumbent MP Dr Dharamvira Gandhi is urging voters to vote for him as he spent all of his Rs 25 crore on the constituency and if he wins again he would work for legalising sale and farming of “opium and poppy husk”. 

AAP candidate Neena Mittal’s campaign saw limited crowds, though a roadshow by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday draw some crowds. With the AAP wave as good as over, the party was seen struggling in Patiala in terms of a strong campaign outside Rajpura, the home town of Mittal. 

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