Punjab polls: Where Channi’s wife, Amarinder’s daughter in battlefield
Chandigarh : Politics may be a distant dream for the wife and daughter of Punjab’s two prominent politicians, but they have already taken the path much travelled to politics while campaigning for the February 20 elections.Congress turncoat and two-time Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s daughter Jai Inder Kaur and first-timer Congress Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s wife Kamaljit Kaur are campaigning aggressively on their behalf. The two are the star campaigners for their respective parties.Commoner Channi took oath just three months ahead of the poll announcement, becoming the first Scheduled Caste Chief Minister of the state, after the unceremonious exit of Capt Amarinder Singh, who was at the helm for four-and-a-half years.The latter’s fledgling Punjab Lok Congress (PLC) is contesting the polls in alliance with the BJP and SAD (Sanyukt), an Akali Dal rebel.Eyeing to woo 32 per cent Dalit population, country’s highest, the Congress picked Channi to lead the party and fielded him from two seats his bastion Chamkaur Sahib that he won three times and his new battlefield Bhadaur, while his archrival Capt Amarinder Singh, is contesting from his stronghold Patiala (Urban), the seat that he has won for four consecutive terms since 2002 when he first contested.Three-time MP from Patiala and a former Union minister Preneet Kaur, who on previous occasions was the campaign in-charge of Capt Amarinder Singh, is missing this time as she is still a Congress MP from Patiala and can’t campaign for her husband’s party.
She has deputed her daughter Jai Inder Kaur to look after the seat in the absence of her father.”Whatever role or duty is assigned to me by my father, I work with sincerity and dedication,” Jai Inder Kaur, 56, told IANS.A senior leader close to the royal family says Jai Inder Kaur has been actively campaigning for her parents since 2007. After the elections, she has been playing an active role in meeting and redressing grievances of constituents whenever her father is at the helm.When Capt Amarinder was the chief minister from 2002 to 2007 and thereafter from 2017 to September 2021, Kaur played a crucial role in framing and getting developmental works in the constituency.”We are seeking votes on the basis of the overall development ensured by my father in the constituency,” she added.Otherwise, she’s keeping herself away for her foray into contesting polls. Her youngest son Nirvan Singh is handling Capt Amarinder’s social media campaigns.On the other hand, Congress leader Channi’s wife Kamaljit Kaur, a doctor by profession who took voluntary retirement from the government job on January 25, is hitting the roads of Chamkaur Sahib to retain the seat.”Since Channi ‘saab’ has been extensively touring the state, we have decided to lead the campaign in his constituency,” Kamaljit Kaur told IANS.”As a new entrant, I am trying to get hold of politics. During our campaigns we are highlighting achievements and policies framed in the past 111 days of governance by Channi and his new cabinet team,” she said.
On the issues, she said the people are talking about the rising unemployment. Also teen drug abuse is a major problem in rural areas. “We are assuring them to help them, once the party returns to power,” said Kamaljit Kaur, who along with other family members is campaigning.Without mincing words, she added the people in his constituency are complaining that Channi is not accessible after his elevation to the state’s top executive position.”Their grievances are genuine. The security protocol is not allowing his constituents to mingle freely with the Chief Minister. Earlier, they were meeting him regularly both in office and residence. We are explaining to them the reason,” she added.Channi, who entered politics at the age of 20, replaced Captain Amarinder on September 19, 2021, as a stopgap Chief Minister.Channi, 58, is testing the political waters in Bhadaur constituency for the first time where he’s touring himself.He won the Chamkaur Sahib seat in Ropar district thrice in a row. Both are reserved assembly constituencies. He has been given the second seat to counter the growing influence of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the Malwa region by consolidating the scheduled caste votes.In 2017, Capt Amarinder Singh, 80, polled 72,217 votes against nearest rival Balbir Singh of the Aam Aadmi Party, who got just 19,852. Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidate and former Army chief Gen J.J. Singh (retd) got just 11,613 votes. Gen Singh is now with the BJP.