Gul Panag, Aam Aadmi Party’s new candidate from Chandigarh for the Lok Sabha elections, seems to have got into the election mood. The day she was announced candidate, Panag started her campaign by pacifying detractors and meeting volunteers of the party’s local unit. With less than a month to go for the elections scheduled for April 10, Panag has entered the election fray aspiring to bring change.
Accompanied by senior AAP leader Manish Sisodia, Panag was in the city on Thursday. Talking about her connection with Chandigarh, Panag said she had been born and brought up in the city.
“It is a moment of pride for me that I am getting a chance to contest from here. My grandfather came to Chandigarh in 1960 and settled here. I did my schooling at Kendriya Vidyalaya. I then attended Government College for Girls at Patiala. Congress MP Pawan Bansal and my father were batch mates and studied at YPS,” she said.
Panag added, “You cannot hold this against me that I went to Mumbai to earn my living. Lots of people do that. I feel chasing dreams is the responsibility of every person. I could sit with a neutral perspective. However, a time comes when your conscience tells you that you should contest. Change comes when you jump into the battle.”
Talking about issues related to Chandigarh, she said that the larger issues affecting the country were those affecting the city as well. These include dynastic politics, crony capitalism, corruption and communalism.
“Both Congress and BJP are two sides of the same coin. The traditional parties are not willing to change. We are a new movement and are learning fast. The two parties will be forced to change in times to come. I respect candidates of both the parties whom I will face. I will not say anything against them,” she said.
Panag added that though she respected Pawan Bansal, he was part of a party which had the chance to bring change but could not.
The AAP will bring change, she added.
About the debate over AAP giving tickets to celebrities, Panag said, “If lawyers and journalists can get tickets, why should actors be discriminated against. A minister is allowed to pursue law and fight cases. Why cannot actors pursue their professions? I am totally committed and want to work for the constituency I represent,” she said.
On Thursday, Panag held a meeting with party volunteers in Sector 21 where they were assured that she would work with them. One of the front runners for the ticket from the city, Munish Raizada, also accompanied her and other AAP leaders for the announcement of Panag’s name as candidate. She thanked him for his support and later campaigned in the market in the evening.
Answering questions about her ‘objectionable’ pictures being circulated on the internet, Panag said the pictures had been doctored and were a conspiracy by the opposition to defame her.