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Hoshiarpur: Rivals play Agniveer card in BJP’s bastion

2024 5largeimg 1469367781Hoshiarpur: As the BJP aims to regain the Hoshiarpur segment, the anti-Agniveer sentiment is echoing here as a sizeable Rajput population here has been contributing to Army recruitments. The Mukerian, Dasuya, Tanda, Sham Churasi and Chabbewal Assembly segments in the Lok Sabha seat have been contributing to Army recruitments.

AAP and Congress are trying to use the “anti-Agniveer” sentiment among the Hindu Dogra population, giving a serious challenge to the saffron party. The INDIA bloc has announced to end the Agniveer scheme if voted to power. Already facing the issue of unemployment, the Lok Sabha seat flagged for being the most literate district and the highest sex ratio has failed to get major development projects. It still carries the tag of backwardness despite having sent high-profile leaders to Parliament in 17 General Election held since 1952.

The constituency has sent stalwarts such as Giani Zail Singh, Darbara Singh and Kanshi Ram to Parliament.

Indicating the apathy of successive Union Governments and local MPs, a medical college and a central university still eludes the area. The kandi belt stretching across Dasuya, Mukerian, Sham Churasi and Tanda Assembly segments lacks irrigation facilities.

Barring the 1977 election, the Congress won all elections held here between 1951 and 1996. The BSP wrested this seat in 1996 with SAD support and BJP twice — in 1998 and 2004. Hoshiarpur parliamentary constituency, comprising areas from Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur and Kapurthala districts and encompassing nine Assembly seats, was declared reserved in the delimitation exercise in 2009. Since then, the Congress has won in 2009 and BJP twice — in 2014 and 2019. AAP vote share increased to 33.9 per cent with five MLAs compared to three Congress MLAs and one BJP MLA in the 2022 Assembly elections.

As the election campaign is yet to gain momentum, the core issues on the mind of voters include the backward regions grant programme by the UPA government in its second term, lack of job opportunities and the yet-to-be-operational Kandi Canal or the Mukerian hydel project as the constituency still grapples with infrastructural and developmental shortcomings.

It will be an interesting contest here as those in the fray include two turncoats — Congress candidate Yamini Gomar, who left AAP to join Congress in 2016, and AAP candidate Dr Raj Kumar Chabbewal, who left the Congress to join AAP recently. SAD is relying on its old warhorse Sohan Singh Thandal and BJP is betting on Anita Som Parkash, wife of sitting MP Som Parkash. The BSP had to announce a new candidate, Ranjit Kumar, after the previous candidate Rakesh Soman joined AAP at the last minute.

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