Our Correspondent Jalandhar, January 21
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) today released a list of 80 candidates for the forthcoming Assembly elections in the Punjab. Twelve women, five Jat Sikhs and a defected SAD(B) MLA from Banga found a place in the list.
Releasing the list at a press conference here today, the President of the BSP, Mr Kanshi Ram, said that it was decided to contest 80 seats and the leave 37 seats for Panthic Morcha. He said though his party would not field any candidates in these 37 constituencies, the Panthic Morcha was free to contest at all the 117 constituencies.
Regarding the recent judgment of the Supreme Court asking the Punjab Government to complete the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal within one year, Mr Kanshi Ram declared that his party would oppose the completion of work on the canal if voted to power. He ruled out poll alliance with the Panthic Morcha and said that since the Panthic Morcha could mar the chances of the SAD(B) candidates, his party had decided to leave 37 seats for the latter as a poll strategy to defeat the SAD-BJP combine. ?During the last Assembly elections in the state we had contested 64 seats and polled 6 per cent votes. Now we are sure to win at least 60 seats by cornering 30 per cent votes,?he added.
The party has fielded the defected SAD(B) MLA, Mr Mohan Lal Banga, from Banga constituency, besides giving 12 tickets to women candidates. The BSP has decided to field Mrs Parveen Kumari against the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, from Lambi constituency. Mr Kanshi Ram said the party would release its poll manifesto by January 31.
The following is the list: Mr Jaspal JP (Gurdaspur), Capt Sohan Singh Panthe (Mukerian), Ms Sulekha Rani (Dina Nagar), Mr Shiv Kumar (Nirot Mehra), Mr Som Raj (Sujanpur), Mr Keshav Das (Pathankot), Mr Ravinder Singh Nagi (Batala), Mr Jagir Singh (Qadian), Mr Satpal Pakhoke (Verka), Mr Ravinder Hans (Amritsar North), Mr Ram Lal Khosla (Amritsar Central), Mr Manjeet Singh (Tarn Taran), Mr Sukhdev Singh Doll (Beas), Mrs Sukhwantjit Kaur (Attari), Mr Joginder Singh (Rajasansi), Mrs Hardev Kaur Shant (Jalandhar Cantt), Mr Pawan Tinu (Jalandhar South), Mr Avinash Chander (Kartarpur), Mr Harbhajan Singh Shrihn (Nakodar), Mr Om Parkash Sidhi (Kapurthala), Mr Tarsem Singh Dola (Sultanpur Lodhi), Mr Sukhbir Singh Shalimar (Adampur), Mr Ram Kishan Bassowal (Phillaur), Mr Harbhajan Singh Bassowal (Phagwara), Mr Satish Kumar Bharti (Sham Chaurasi), Mr M.P. Singh Goraya (Noormahal), Mr Ram Kishan (Nawanshahr), Mr Kuldeep Singh Sidhu (Bhulath), Mr Mangal Singh (Sri Hargobindpur), Mr Jaswinder Singh Parmar (Hoshiarpur), Mr Avtar Singh Karimpuri (Mahilpur), Mr Shangara Ram Sahungra (Garhshankar), Mr Hargopal Singh (Balachaur), Mrs Nirmala Devi (Gardhiwala), Mr Mohan Lal (Dasuya), Mr Nirmal Singh Suman (Anandpur Sahib), Mr Ram Das Gogi (Khanna), Mr Jaspal Singh Gaddu (Chamkaur Sahib).
The nominees include Mr Avtar Singh (Nabha), Mr Mann Singh Manhera (Amloh), Mrs Surinder Kaur (Sirhind), Mrs Sultana Begum (Dhuri), Mrs Karamjit Kaur (Banur), Mr Rajinder Singh (Shutrana), Mr Shamsher Singh (Dakala), Mr Gurcharan Singh (Ghanaur), Mr Om Parkash Chohan (Ludhiana North), Mr Ravinder Singh Sohal (Ludhiana West), Mr Jai Pal (Ludhiana East), Mr Gurmail Singh Pehlwan (Ludhiana Rural), Mr Gurdial Chand (Kum Kalan), Mr Jarnail Singh Narangwal (Kila Raipur), Miss Mandeep Kaur (Dakha), Mr Gurinder Pal Singh (Dhanaula), Mrs Naresh Kumar (Barnala), Mr Nirmal Singh (Bhadaur), Mr Chet Singh (Dirba), Mr Harnek Singh (Sherpur), Mr Jagjit Singh (Raikot), Mrs Gurdeep Kaur (Nihalsinghwala), Mr Sham Singh Jaura (Bathinda), Mr Jodha Singh (Pakka Kalan), Mr Pushvinder Pal Singh (Nathana), Mr Surjit Singh (Rampura Phul), Mr Jagdeep Singh Gogi (Talwandi Sabo), Mr Mangat Rai Bansal (Budhlada), Mr Gurcharan Singh (Malout), Mr Narinder Kumar (Kot Kapura), Mr Binder Singh Bhim (Panjgrian), Mr Sant Ram (Bagha Purana), Mr Charan Kamal Jakhar (Abohar), Mrs Usha Rani (Balluana), Mr Subash Chander Malatia (Fazilka), Dr Mohan Singh (Jalalabad), Mr Surjit Singh Sidhu (Ferozepore), Mr Chamkour Singh Sandhu (Ferozepore Cantt), Mr Joginder Singh (Guru Harsahai), Mr Lal Singh Sulhani (Dharmkot).
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, January 22
Contrary to expectations, new political alliances in the state politics for the February 13 Assembly elections have crumbled even before they could be formalised.
The announcement of the list of 80 candidates by the Bahujan Samaj Party supremo, Mr Kanshi Ram, has taken the wind out of the sails of not only the Panthic Morcha but also the Congress.
Mr Kanshi Ram made it clear that his party would not enter into any formal alliance with the Panthic Morcha but only have seat adjustment to ensure the defeat of the Congress and SAD-BJP alliance. It is a polite way of saying that the BSP would do it alone.
Interestingly, the only formal alliance left in the fray is the ruling SAD-BJP one, which, in spite of turbulence, both in the SAD and the Bharatiya Janata Party, has successfully survived a full five-year term and seems sustainable for the time being.
The developments, since the filing of nominations started on January 16, have been indicative of multi-angular contests in most of the 117 Assembly constituencies of the state. How the things develop in the next eight days remain to be seen. All will depend upon how the major political parties, both at the national and state levels, are able to quell dissidence.
The quantum of ?dissidence? within all major political parties, and failure of like-minded parties to come together is ?unprecedented?. For example, in the Congress alone, the number of dissidents or rebels deciding to contest, both as Independents or as nominees of the Nationalist Congress Party headed by Mr Sharad Pawar, is more than 25. The same is the case with the SAD where more than 15 candidates have made known their intentions of opposing the official candidates. Some of them may go to the Panthic Morcha and others may contest as Independents. The BJP, though a smaller party, may also have a couple of rebels opposing official candidates. The BSP has been more or less able to give tickets to all its aspirants.
The decision of Mr Kanshi Ram may have come as a big disappointment more to the Panthic Morcha leadership than the Congress as he openly criticised a part of the former?s leadership, maintaining that he would have no truck with ?secessionist and Khalistani elements?.
Though the BSP supremo, who has been working hard in Punjab for more than a year now, always wanted to go alone in the Punjab Assembly elections, he had been under tremendous pressure of the Panthic Morcha leadership, which offered him less than 40 seats, on the plea that together they could floor both the ruling alliance and the Congress. Instead, he has put up his nominees in many of the Assembly segments for which the Panthic Morcha has already announced its candidates.
He did not name any candidate for the Morinda, Kharar and Amritsar South Assembly segments from where the morcha has put up Mr Ravi Inder Singh, Mr Rajbir Singh Padiala and Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta as its candidates. The BSP has also not up any candidates at Dhariwal and Patti from where the morcha has named Mr Sucha Singh Chhotepur and former AISSF activist Harminder Singh Gill as its candidates.
He has put up his candidates for the Kila Raipur, Ludhiana Rural and Dakha Assembly seats from where the Panthic Morcha has decided to field Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, Mr Hira Singh Gabria and Mr Bikramjit Singh Khalsa, respectively.
The BSP list has been worrying both the Panthic Morcha as well as Congress leadership as it will certainly eat into SC and ST votes, more of which otherwise would have gone to Congress. The BSP?s track record, if not impressive, cannot be ignored as it is capable of upsetting the applecart of any major political party any day. It has the capacity to play a very delicate or decisive role in the coming Assembly elections. But crossing swords with the Panthic Morcha candidates in more than 40 constituencies would neither benefit the BSP nor the Panthic Morcha but may benefit the lone alliance of Punjab politics, the SAD-BJP, as these political outfits would not only garner anti-ruling alliance vote but also eat up that Sikh vote which would have not gone to Congress either.