At Nawanshahr constituency,the battle is between two widows banking heavily on the sympathy factor. What further unites the Congress Gur Iqbal Kaur and Satinder Kaur Kariha of the Shiromani Akali Dal,is that their husbands,who died recently,had won elections from the constituency. The duo now remind voters of the work done by their respective husbands and express how they want carry that legacy forward.
Kaur and Kariha address some 12 to 15 public meetings every day. Both had started their campaign about a couple of months ago after their respective parties had indicated that they will be allotted the tickets. The constituency,which has two towns,Nawanshahr and Rahon,besides 122 villages,is mainly a rural one,with 1.44 lakh voters,and generally witnesses a high voter turnout. Around 1.18 lakh votes were cast here during the last Assembly polls.
The Akali Dal candidate from here,62-year old Kariha,is the wife of the late Jatinder Singh Kariha,who was the sitting MLA and had won the seat thrice. He died last year. Kariha also lost her son Col Hira Singh. A woman of few words,she limits her campaigning to one line speeches with folded hands in public meetings at the villages. I want to request you to give me each and every vote so that I may be able to make it to the state assembly and finish the unfinished work of my husband (Kariha), she says.
At Sanawa village and Sujanpur,besides banking on her late husband,she also highlights the developmental work carried out by her husband and the SAD-BJP government,including the setting up of the government hospital,veterinary hospital and the laying of the sewerage system in Nawanshahr and Rahon. Kariha is always accompanied by Sham Sunder or Pawinder Kariha,her husbands close aide and they start with the background of the family and the work done by her late husband before emphasising that she is not new to politics and then proceed to seek votes.
The Congress candidate,Gur Iqbal Kaur (55) of the Saini community and the wife of the late Parkash Singh,who was the Chief Parliamentary Secretary in the Congress government from 2002 to 2007,is more aggressive in her speeches,besides speaking about her husband and his unfinished work.
The present government has done no development. Just see the roads of our area,the other infrastructure,no proper hospital,no waste management plan, she says and adds,If voted to power then firstly small scale industry for this area to that two persons in a family can earn,a waste management system to be put in place besides hospital and teachers in schools as presently hardly any teacher comes to school to teach and timely dispersal of pensions in different social schemes.
Attacking her opponent she says: I have been working with my husband when he was alive and the MLA but Kariha just started after her husbands death. Kaur is usually accompanied either by her son Angad Singh,a youth Congress leader or her daughter Navdeep.