Even as he describes getting a party ticket for the Panchkula seat as a “surprise” for him, INLD’s Karundeep Chaudhary is all set to fight his first election.
“I was at the forefront of the youth wing of the party and had even been made its state spokesperson this January. But I did not expect to get the ticket so soon. Of course, I thought of getting it in future, but not this time,” says the 29-year-old, is the youngest and the most literate of the mainstream party leaders in Panchkula.
A practising lawyer, Karundeep was active in politics from his college days. He did his schooling from Panchkula itself before attending DAV college, Chandigarh and later moving to a college affiliated to Punjabi University from where he received his law degree.
He was the incharge of INSO, INLD’s student wing, for Panchkula district and DAV before the party split and was then made the head of the party’s new youth wing- ISO for Chandigarh, Panchkula, Kalka and Naraingarh consisting as many as 23 colleges.
The young candidate says that he wants to work on the same ideologies of INLD supremo and former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala.
“Chautala was the only CM who went door to door in each village of the state in a drive called ‘Sarkaar Aapke Dwar’. He would go with a team of all senior officials and listen to people’s grievances and solved them right there much like in the movie “Nayak”. I too have been visiting the people of colonies in the city and wish to work on the same lines.”
“Once the party split, my family decided to stay with Om Prakash Chautala for he had done so much us. We had always been loyal to him and we knew that was the time he needed us the most. My mother also shares personal relationship with the family. It was then that Abhay Chautala gave me this responsibility”, Karundeep further says.
Karundeep’s campaign, though still slow, is expected to take pace very soon. “I was caught unprepared and this being my first ever elections, is taking sometime for me to come to terms with the process of it all. But I am campaigning and receiving support wherever I go.”
The 29-year-old candidate says looks he upto his mother, Seema Chaudhary, who was also the first Mayor of the city, for advice and support.
“My mother plays a huge role in my life, both personal and political. She has the vigour and experience. She has worked on ground level with the people of the city and they appreciate it for that. I too, would work on the ground level if I win.”
INLD, which is going through a crisis after the split in the party, seems to be giving tickets to the young and promising candidates like Karundeep this time.
The party has enjoyed a stronghold in the state in the past. The 2014 Assembly elections was the first time when a BJP government came to power in Haryana. But INLD seems optimistic about the “Modi-wave passing” and the party coming to forefront again in the state this time.
The party also seems to be rewarding loyalty. The Panchkula candidate also feels that even though “the party is down right now, trusted faces and policies can uplift it in no time.”
“The party is thinking long-term. Everybody know, once INLD sets a candidate from one district, that is the face that stays whatever maybe the result. I am just 29 and will be here for many elections to come. As for Congress and BJP, everybody knows, they are passing faces. This is Gupta’s (BJP Candidate) last election,” says Karundeep.
With only ten days left for the voting day, Karundeep, who is confident of winning, also says he will work for the people of the colonies even if he loses.
“My profession is one way I can easily help people. I will file PILs free of cost for all people living in colonies deprived of basic necessities,” he says.