April 30, 2014 12:56:14 pm
Around 15.18 lakh voters will decide the fate of 15 candidates from Ferozepur constituency on Wednesday. The region is known to vote on caste and communal lines, something the candidates are well aware of.
Sitting MP and the SAD-BJP candidate Sher Singh Ghubaya is banking on the Rai Sikh voters, who make up about 16 per cent of the total electorate.
His rival, the Congress’ Sunil Jakhar, however, feels that not only Hindus but people from all communities will vote against Ghubaya as, Jakhar added, the MP has done nothing for the constituency.
Hindus make up about 32 per cent of the electorate while Jat Sikhs account for 26 per cent and members of the Kamboj community consist of 16 per cent.
The new entrant, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), failed to gain ground despite having fielded a member of the Kamboj community — Satnam Pal Kamboj. An advocate by profession and a former Bahujan Samaj Party leader, Kamboj also had fought the 2012 Assembly elections as an Independent at Guru Har Sahai but managed to get only 88 votes.
His troubles began as soon as he was handed the AAP ticket. There was huge resentment when he was announced as the candidate, the district coordinator from Fazilka, Chand Soni, left the party and joined the Congress. It also prompted a high-level meeting at Jalalabad which was attended by AAP members from New Delhi. His campaign has also failed to reach out to voters, particularly in the border areas. People in the border villages are unaware about the existence of AAP and city residents say that Kamboj has not even come once seeking votes.
“A large percentage of the voters are from the Kamboj community but the AAP candidate never made efforts to get their votes. We have never seen him campaigning even in main urban areas of Ferozepur,” said Karampal Singh, a resident from Ferozepur city.
Jugnu Singh from Chandiwala village in border areas said: “Reaching out to border villages is not that easy and candidates ignore us. We have heard about Arvind Kejriwal (AAP chief) but we are unaware of Kamboj fighting on the AAP ticket. He has not campaigned here”.
Even SAD and Congress candidates have avoided visiting border villages personally and preferred to send messages through sarpanches, MLAs and their local cadre. “Ghubaya came to the nearby village but not here. It is because that roads here are so poor that his luxurious cars cannot travel till here. He will not face people and answer our queries but will send messages through the sarpanch and local workers to vote for him,” said Devi Lal from Chandiwala.
Defending his campaign, Kamboj said: “We are aam aadmi and we are trying to reach maximum people on our own. We do not have sarpanches and MLAs who can relay our messages to the people and thus we may have missed some areas”.
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