Congress candidate Sukhjinder Randhawa predicts victory in Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat

Congress's Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, running for Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat, faces challenges like drug smuggling and unemployment. He criticizes the AAP government for law and order issues. Randhawa believes Congress can win due to support in the constituency, where six of nine Assembly segments are held by Congress. He highlights the area's economic needs and demands incentives for industrial development. Randhawa dismisses political rivals, claiming Akali Dal is BJP's "B team" and BJP's Dinesh Babbu has little impact.

PTI | Chandigarh | Updated: 09-05-2024 15:11 IST | Created: 09-05-2024 15:11 IST
Congress candidate Sukhjinder Randhawa predicts victory in Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat
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Four-time Punjab MLA and the Congress's Lok Sabha poll candidate from Gurdaspur Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa does not see any challenge from his political rivals on the road to ''victory'' from the constituency, which once used to be the grand old party's fortress.

The former deputy chief minister of Punjab considers drugs and weapons being sent to the state from across the border through drones and unemployment as some of the major issues facing the border constituency.

At the same time, he lashed out at the Bhagwant Mann government over the allegedly deteriorating law-and-order scenario of the state.

The Congress has placed its faith on political heavyweight Randhawa to wrest the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the June 1 election in Punjab. The seat is currently represented in the Lok Sabha by BJP MP Sunny Deol.

''We have complete support of people in the Gurdaspur constituency. We will definitely win,'' Randhawa told PTI on Thursday.

The Congress leader will go to Parliament for the first time he wins the poll contest from Gurdaspur.

Randhawa became an MLA from Fatehgarh Churian in 2002 and was re-elected to the Assembly from the Dera Baba Nanak segment in 2012, 2017 and 2022.

The Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat comprises nine Assembly constituencies, of which six -- ”Dera Baba Nanak, Sujanpur, Gurdaspur, Dinanagar, Qadian and Fatehgarh Churian -- are held by the Congress, two -- ”Bhoa and Batala -- ”are with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Pathankot segment is represented by BJP.

The Gurdaspur parliamentary segment used to be a Congress citadel before the BJP brought in actor Vinod Khanna and fielded him from the constituency in 1998.

Khanna defeated five-time Congress MP Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder.

Khanna again registered victory in the 1999, 2004 and 2014 Lok Sabha polls. However, he lost the seat to Congress candidate Partap Singh Bajwa in 2009.

Following Khanna's death in 2017, Congress leader Sunil Jakhar won the seat in a bypoll. In the 2019 parliamentary polls, Deol won the seat.

Slamming the AAP government in Punjab, Randhawa, who held the home portfolio in the previous Charanjit Singh Channi government, claimed that law and order has ''collapsed'' in the state.

''People are receiving extortion calls every day. In Batala, many families have received extortion calls,'' he said.

Describing the smuggling of heroin and arms and ammunition through drones from across the border as a major issue, the Congress leader said drugs are being pushed into the state on a daily basis.

''Unemployment is another major issue here,'' he added.

The 65-year-old leader demanded announcing fiscal incentives, as given to industries in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, for the border districts of Punjab to boost industrial development.

''When new industry comes up here, it will generate employment opportunities,'' he said.

Randhawa claimed that due to a lack of support, many industrial units have shifted from the area to Kathua in Jammu and Baddi in Himachal Pradesh.

He said there is a need to revive Batala's industrial cluster -- “foundries and machine tools -- and industrial units in Pathankot district.

Calling the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) the ''B team'' of the BJP, the Congress leader said, ''Voting for the Akali Dal will be equal to voting for the BJP.'' On BJP nominee Dinesh Babbu, Randhawa said he was an MLA for 15 years ''but never uttered a single word in the Assembly''.

''People are not allowing him to enter villages,'' he said, referring to farmers holding protests against the BJP's poll candidates.

Randhawa was the deputy chief minister in the previous Congress government in Punjab led by chief minister Channi. He is currently an MLA from the Dera Baba Nanak Assembly seat and also the Congress's in-charge for Rajasthan.

Gurdaspur is set to witness a four-cornered poll contest. The SAD has fielded former minister Daljit Singh Cheema, BJP has named former MLA Babbu and the AAP has nominated Batala MLA Amansher Singh Sherry Kalsi from the seat.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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