Jakhar aims to wrest Ferozepur seat for Congress after 27 years
Riding on the 'anti-incumbency wave' against the ruling SAD-BJP alliance government in Punjab, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader in Vidhan Sabha Sunil Jakhar is aiming to wrest this border Lok Sabha seat from sitting SAD MP Sher Singh Gubaya for the party after 27 years.
Jat leader Balram Jakhar, father of Sunil Jakhar, won from this seat in 1980 and became the Lok Sabha Speaker. Congress retained the seat in 1985 when its candidate Gurdial Singh Dhillon got sympathy votes after the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
After that, the party was unable to win from this border LS seat.
The prestige of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal and Sunil Jakhar is at stake in this election as Assembly segments of both the leaders are part of this seat.
Although Ram Kumar (BSP), Satnam Paul Kamboj (AAP) and former MP Dhian Singh Mand (SAD-A) are among the 15 candidates in the fray, but the actual fight appears to be between the Congress and SAD candidates.
In 2012 Assembly polls, SAD-BJP alliance won from Ferozepur (rural), Jalandhar, Fazilka, Balluance and Malout and Congress from Ferozepur (City), Guru Harsahai, Abohar and Muktsar seats.
Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and Mr Jakhar represent the Jalalabad and Abohar Assembly seats, respectively in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.
There are 14,98,316 voters, including 7,02,480 female electorates. Among them, 32 per cent are Hindus, 26 per cent Jat Sikhs, 15 per cent non-Jat Sikhs, 13 per cent Rai Sikhs and 13 per cent other scheduled castes.
Electorate wise Jalalabad with 1,86,686 voters is the largest Assembly segment, while Guru Harsahai is smallest with 1,49,850 electorates in this border Lok Sabha seat.
The main poll issues in this seat are unemployment, waterlogging, scarcity of clean drinking water, lack of civil infrastructure, education and border trade link.
Guru Harsahai Congress MLA Rana Gurmeet Sodhi was hopeful of party ticket from this seat, but the party high command decided to field three-time sitting MLA Sunil Jakhar, who has a clean image.
Mr Jakhar pacified Mr Sodhi, who was annoyed with the decision initially.
Mr Sodhi, along with other Congress MLAs Parminder Singh Pinky (Ferozepur city) and Karan Brar (Muktsar), are fully backing the CLP leader and actively participating in his campaign.
(Posted on 28-04-2014)