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Keen contest on cards for Bhattal in her bastion

LEHRAGAGGA (Pb), Jan 27:  One is a Congress heavyweight, trying to retain her grip over the seat she has represented for two-decades-and-a-half, and the other son of a top-ranking Akali Dal leader, seeking to replicate his father’s success story.
The high-profile Lehragagga Assembly seat in Punjab is all set to witness a keen contest between Congress heavyweight and former Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Akali Dal’s Parminder Singh Dhindsa, the state’s finance minister.
Dhindsa’s father Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, a Rajya Sabha MP and minister in the erstwhile Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government had defeated Bhattal way back in 1972 when they crossed swords in an assembly poll.
A resurgent AAP has fielded political novice Jasbir Singh Kudani, who is trying to make the contest triangular.
After losing once in 1985, Bhattal has been unbeatable in Leharagagga, having won five times since.
Parminder, on the other hand, has been shifted from Sunam, a constituency he represented since 2000 after winning the election at the age of 27.
A major reason for Parminder shift to Lehragagga was the anger of the farming community against him. Darshan Singh, a farmer had committed suicide after consuming poison outside Parminder’s residence at a protest held by organisations of farmers and labourers. The local administration had claimed the deceased was not a farmer, provoking anger of the farming community.
“Parminder Dhindsa betrayed and ran away from Sunam. Dhindsa needs to explain what made him run away from Sunam and betray the people,” Bhattal says meeting after public meeting.
She alleges Dhindsa did nothing worthwhile as state’s finance minister and also failed to look after his constituency which lacks basic amenities like roads and sewerage, besides adequate drinking water.
Bhattal says she has been serving the people of Lehragagga with dedication for the last 25 years, taking care of the weak and poor.
She promises the electorate that Lehragagga will be made a district, opening new vistas for development.
Parminder trashes the ‘outsider’ tag and insists he has done a lot of development work for even Lehragagga let alone Sunam.
“Some 16 schools have been upgraded here as education is my priority,” he tells people, adding it was at his behest that a sewerage line was built in Lehragagga.
“Bhattal has been a failure from here…She did nothing for this assembly constituency,” he says. (PTI)

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