When Canada votes on October 21 to elect members of its House of Commons, which has 338 seats, it will have 50 Indian-origin candidates in fray — most of them Punjabis pitted against each other.
The 43rd Canadian Federal General Election is the first time so many Indo-Canadians have entered the race. Last time in October 2015 polls, only 38 Indo-Canadians had entered the contest, with 19 getting elected. That year, several seats in Brampton and Mississauga cities had gone to Punjabi candidates.
All the three main parties, including Liberal Party, Conservative Party and New Democratic Party (NDP), have pitted Punjabi candidates against each other in all those constituencies which have sizeable population of Indian-origin people, including Punjabis. Edmonton, Brampton, Surrey and Calgary are the four areas from where the three major parties have put up Punjabi candidates.
Canada-based businessman S S Khurana told The Indian Express that this was the first time that so many Punjabis were in fray. While Liberals and Conservatives have fielded around 35 candidates, NDP too has fielded 9 candidates. The Green Party has fielded five candidates, while People’s Party Canada and others too have Indian-origin candidates.
Brampton and Surrey have become the hottest electoral battle among Punjabis. In Brampton West and Brampton South constituencies, eight Punjabis are contesting against each other.
In Brampton West, MP Kamal Khera (Liberal Party), Navjit Kaur (NDP), Harinderpal Hundal (Communist Party), Murarilal (Conservative Party), and in Brampton South MP Sonia Sidhu (Liberal Party) Ramandeep Brar (Conservative Party), Mandeep Kaur (NDP) and Rajwinder Ghumman from People’s Party Canada (PPC) are in fray.
In Brampton Centre, sitting MP Ramesh Sangha (Liberal Party), Pawanjit Gosal (Conservative Party) and Baljit Bawa (PPC) are facing each other. Liberal candidate Ramesh Sangha hails from Lesriwal village in Jalandhar and had migrated to Canada in 1995.
In Brampton East, Maninder Sindu (Liberal Party), Romana Benson Singh (Conservative Party), Sharanjit Singh of NDP and Gaurav Walia of PPC are in fray against each other.
In Brampton North MP Ruby Sahota (Liberal) and Arpan Khanna (Conservative) are facing each other. Sunny Atwal and Ashish Sachan (both Conservative) are contesting from Cambridge and Guelph in Midwestern Ontario. Jigar Patel (NDP) is contesting from Ragina Lewvan. Liberal MPs Jati Sidhu and Randeep Sarai are contesting in Canyon and Surrey Centre, respectively. Apart from this, Tina Bains (Conservative), Sarjit Saran (NDP) Jaswinder Singh Dilawari (PPC) are contesting from Surrey Centre. Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal, Harpreet Singh (Conservative), Harjit Singh Gill (NDP) are contesting from Surrey Newton.
Liberal MP Raj Saini is in field from Kitchener Centre. Liberal MP Amarjeet Sohi and Conservative Tim Uppal are facing each other at Edmonton Mill Woods. Gurmeet Singh Bhachu of NDP from Calgary Midnapore, Nirmala Naidoo (Liberal Party), Jagdeep K Sahota (Conservative Party), Gurinder Singh Gill (NDP), Harinder Singh Dhillon (PPC) are in fray from Calgary Skyview.
MP Bardish Chagger is fighting from Waterloo. Harwinder Sandhu of NDP from North Okanagan-Shuswap and Dave Birdi from Skeena Bulkley Valley (British Columbia), Shinder P Purewal (Conservative Party) is contesting from Fleetwood-Port Kells. The list also includes Amita Kuttner (Green party) from Burnaby North -Seymour, Neelam Brar (Liberal Party), Jagmeet Singh (NDP) from Burnaby South.
Sitting MP (Liberal Party) and Minister Harjit Sajjan is contesting from Vancouver South. Sajjan hails from Bambeli village near Mahilpur in Hoshiapur district.
Apart from this, two sitting MPs of Liberal Party Navdeep Bains and Gagan Sikand are also contesting from Mississauga Malton and Mississauga Streetsville, respectively.
MP Anju Dhillon (Liberal Party), who was the first Indian-Canadian to win a seat — Dorsal-Lachine-LaSalle — in the French-speaking Quebec, is again fighting from here. Conservative MP Bob Saroya is contesting from Markham Thornhill in Durham and York and Sarabjit Kaur of Conservative Party is contesting from Etobicoke North.
In Oakville, Anita Anand of Liberal Party and Sushila Pereira of CHP are in fray, Nikki (Gurdeep Kaur) of Conservative party is contesting in Hamilton East Stoney. Sanjay Bhatia, Conservative Party is contesting from Davenport.