In Sangrur segment, Bhagwant Mann factor at play, minister Singla bets on his ‘development works’ - Hindustan Times

In Sangrur segment, Bhagwant Mann factor at play, minister Singla bets on his ‘development works’

By, Sangrur
Feb 05, 2022 01:59 AM IST

BJP candidate Arvind Khanna, a former Sangrur MLA, focusing on the urban electorate, seeking votes in the name of social work he did in the segment

Not long after winning the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress’ then Sangrur MP Vijay Inder Singla (now a Punjab cabinet minister) got approved a satellite centre of the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) at Ghabdan village of Sangrur besides upgrading the railway stations and carrying out development works in the constituency.

Aam Aadmi Party Narinder Kaur Bharaj (centre) campaigning in the Sangrur segment ahead of the Punjab assembly elections.
Aam Aadmi Party Narinder Kaur Bharaj (centre) campaigning in the Sangrur segment ahead of the Punjab assembly elections.

But in the next parliamentary polls in 2014, Singla, as the party candidate, even lost his security deposit amid the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) wave with its candidate Bhagwant Mann emerging victorious with a margin of over 2 lakh votes.

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Interestingly, the voters of the Sangrur assembly segment elected Singla as MLA in the 2017 polls. He is currently seeking a second chance in the name of establishment of a cancer hospital, the PGI satellite centre, road infrastructure and a cement factory in the segment.

This time, the AAP announced Bhagwant Mann its chief ministerial face for the assembly elections and his loyalist Narinder Kaur Bharaj is contesting against Singla on the party ticket. Bharaj is focusing on rural areas, promising to address people’s concerns when Mann will be the chief minister of Punjab. Mann is also fighting from the neighboring segment of Dhuri.

Also, BJP candidate Arvind Khanna, a former Sangrur MLA, is focusing on the urban electorate and is seeking votes for his “social services” in the segment and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “vision” for Punjab.

Singla, the sitting MLA, says that he served the segment well in the past 5 years and has done a lot of development works.

“I am getting a huge response from the people of the constituency. The entire state is aware about development works carried out in Sangrur. I will focus on skill development for employment generation if voted to power,” added Singla.

Besides two-time MP Mann, Sangrur is the home district of two other AAP heavyweights — leader of opposition and Dirba MLA Harpal Singh Cheema and Sunam legislator Aman Arora.

Bharaj, who is appealing to the people to vote for “a happy and prosperous Punjab” which, according to her, Mann’s leadership can provide them, says, “The Sangrur MLA (Singla) also served as the school education minister but people of the state can tell how many schools were turned smart. Our aim is to focus on education and health services. The people of the constituency are giving us an overwhelming love and want a change.”

Arvind Khanna, who resigned as Dhuri Congress MLA in 2015, intensified his election campaign claiming that PM Modi and BJP’s policies inspired him to rejoin politics.

“Only Modi and the BJP can save Punjab. My vision for Sangrur is employment creation. I don’t want the educated youth of Sangrur to say they want to move abroad,” added Khanna.

Winnderjit Singh Goldy, the Shiromani Akali Dal nominee, claims that Mann did nothing for the area during eight years of his tenure as MP. “Also, Singla failed to focus on the education sector despite serving as school education minister,” he adds.

“The Sangrur civil hospital is running without a trauma centre. The area residents are facing shortage of potable water. The constituency got two industrial units during the SAD rule but the Congress’ performance was zero. We will bring industry besides educational and sports institutes to Sangrur if voted to power,” Goldy says.

As a matter of fact, the PGI satellite centre is still not fully functional and the Sangrur civil hospital has been facing a shortage of neurosurgeons as all patients with head injuries are referred to the PGIMER, Chandigarh. The problems of traffic and stray cattle are yet to be addressed.

Candidates in the fray

Vijay Inder Singla (Congress)

Narinder Kaur Bharaj (AAP)

Arvind Khanna (BJP)

Winnerjit Singh Goldy (SAD)

Jagdeep Singh (SSM)

Gurnaib Singh (SAD-A)

Total voters: 1.88 lakh

Male: 99,203

Female: 89,692

Winners of past five elections

2017: Vijay Inder Singla (Congress)

2012: Parkash Chand Garg (SAD)

2007: Surinder Pal Singh Sibia (Congress)

2002: Arvind Khanna (Congress)

1997: Ranjit Singh (SAD)

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    Avtar Singh is a staff correspondent who covers politics, agriculture, crime and rural areas in Sangrur, Barnala and Malerkotla districts of Punjab.

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