Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll: Dussehra and Ramlila turn vote-catchers as CM leads way
PATHANKOT: With an eye on the sizable Hindu vote in Pathankot district that has three of the nine assembly segments that fall under the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat — which will see a bypoll on October 11 — political parties are seeking to strike the religious chord.
While the Congress is getting a push from CM Captain Amrinder Singh who will attend the Dussehra celebrations at the Pathankot stadium on Saturday, party candidate Sunil Jakhar has the famous Ramlila at Kali Mata Mandir in Pathankot on his itinerary for the day. Here, the stage is usually anchored by former BJP minister Master Mohan Lal who earlier used to play the role of Ravana.
It is learnt that after the news of the CM’s plan, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Maj General Suresh Khajuria is also scheduled to attend the festival at Dinanagar.
And BJP candidate Swaran Salaria will attend the Dussehra at Manwal village in Sujanpur segment. The village is a stronghold of his Rajput community. Hindus constitute the majority in the LS segment by a thin margin ahead of Sikhs, and the Rajput community is a major force within that bracket.
The town has a history of Ramlila and politics being intertwined. Former Congress MLA Ashok Sharma is still playing the role of Lord Rama at the Ramlila grounds.
“Captain Amrinder Singh is going to attend Dussehra for the first time here, and we are happy as it is going to help our candidate Sunil Jakhar,” said Amit Vij, Pathankot MLA. “Before that, he will also meet ex-servicemen in the area, which will further strengthen our position.”
He stressed that the visit must not be seen as seeking votes on religious lines, “We are not targeting the Hindu voters but only aiming to win the seat for the benefit of the region.” He further said, “The Congress has never ruled on the basis of caste or religion, which actually remains the prime agenda of the BJP.”
JAKHAR CHALLENGES SALARIA, SAMPLA
Claiming that Gurdaspur’s people will see through Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD’s) and the BJP’s attempt to divert attention from real issues, Punjab Congress president and party candidate for the bypoll said personal attacks on him exhibited total desperation.
Jakhar started his campaign for the bypoll on Friday with a road show of hundreds of cars and motor bikes from Nangal to Ghiala village. He also addressed various workers’ meeting.
On Thursday, Union minister and state BJP president Vijay Sampla, in an apparent reference to lack of development in Jakhar’s hometown Aboharhad said, “Jakhar’s in-laws live in Switzerland, even as his home town, Abohar, did not even a bus service.”
“People do not want to hear such irrelevant nonsense, they only want to hear about things like good health care, education, employment and essential commodities at low prices.” he added. “I challenge both Sampla and Salaria to a debate on serious issues instead of making frivolous statements,” he added.
A hoarding about the CM attending Dussehra at the Pathankot stadium.