Public issues take a back seat in battle for Jalalabad - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Friday, October 11, 2019

Public issues take a back seat in battle for Jalalabad

Public issues take a back seat in battle for Jalalabad

Praful Chander Nagpal

Our Correspondent

Fazilka, October 10

Stakes are high in the SAD stronghold Jalabad Assembly constituency as Akalis are vying to retain it, but the Congress is leaving no stone unturned to wrestle the segment from its arch-rival. Amid mudslinging, residents feel that the local issues have been put on the back burner by political leaders.

The Sukhbir’’s bastion is dotted with posters of Congress candidate Raminder Singh Awla, which indicates that locals are set to witness a fierce electoral battle. During the last three elections, Sukhbir Badal won the seat with huge margins, but the situation is different this time as it is not going to be a cakewalk for the SAD after a change of the guard. The byelection was necessitated as Sukhbir resigned after being elected as Ferozepur MP.

In an attempt to retain his stronghold, Sukhbir has fielded his protégé Raj Singh Dibbipura since he has declared to contest the seat in 2022. The Congress has fielded Raminder Singh Awla, who hails from the adjacent Guruharsahai, to quell infighting at the local level.

Awla’s declared wealth is nearly Rs 235 crore. The revolt persists as rebel candidate Jagdeep Goldy Kamboj is in fray. PPCC Secretary Malkeet Singh Heera has been slapped with a show-cause notice for his social media jibe that the Jalalabad ticket was sold for a hefty amount.

CM Capt Amarinder Singh has dispatched his trusted lieutenants, like Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu, Sports Minister Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Amarinder Singh Raja Warring besides PPCC president Sunil Jakhar to turn the tide in favour of the Congress.

At almost every election meeting, Awla says that providing employment to rural youths by setting up his own industry is his priority. He also holds the SAD responsible for the drug menace.

Sukhbir Badal cites development works during his tenure as his achievement and SAD district president Ashok Aneja highlights spending of Rs 1,500 crore in the constituency.

Residents say the fight is between the affluents and the electioneering has turned into a mudslinging campaign, ignoring local issues. “No permanent medical specialist has been posted in the Jalalabad Civil Hospital and two Community Health Centres,” says Davinder Kakkar, president, Bharat Vikas Parishad.

People’s demand for setting up an industrial units and rice hub for employment opportunities have never been discussed before the election. The existing rice industry has been facing financial crisis, said Kakkar. The demand for a government college remains unfulfilled, he said, adding that the issue of canal water availability for irrigation also needs to be addressed.

Past winners

  • P Singh (CPI) in 1967
  • Kanwar Lajinder Singh Bedi (INC) in 1969
  • Mehtab Singh (CPI) in 1972, 1977 and 1985
  • Manga Singh (INC), 1980
  • Prez rule (1987-1992)
  • Hans Raj Josan (INC) in 1992 and 2002
  • Sher Singh Ghubaya (SAD) in 1997 and 2007
  • Sukhbir Badal (SAD) in 2009, 2012 and 2017

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