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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Punjab Polls: In this rural district bordering Pak, big issue; drug menace

The key issues plaguing the district is drug menace and lack of basic infrastructure in villages close to the Indo-Pak border. It has four constituencies — Ferozepur city, Ferozepur urban, Zira and Guru -Har- Sahai.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana |
January 28, 2022 4:20:01 am
Punjab Congress, Charanjit Singh Channi, Punjab Assembly elections 2022, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Shiromani Akali Dal and Sikh faces, Punjab news, Chandigarh city news, Chandigarh, India news, Indian Express News Service, Express News Service, Express News, Indian Express India NewsThe district holds immense historical importance as it is home to the Sargarhi memorial, built to commemorate the battle of Saragarhi, one of the most famous last stands in the history of battles across world.

The border district of Ferozepur shot into the headlines recently after Prime Minister Narendra Modi was forced to return to Delhi without addressing a rally after remaining stuck on a bridge for about 20 minutes allegedly due to security breach. The district holds immense historical importance as it is home to the Sargarhi memorial, built to commemorate the battle of Saragarhi, one of the most famous last stands in the history of battles across world. On 12 September 1897, more than 10,000 Afghan tribesmen had attacked the outpost of Saragarhi, manned by 21 soldiers, who refused to surrender and died fighting. The district also has National Martyrs Memorial at Hussainiwala in memory of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar, Shivaram Rajguru and Battukeshwar Dutt.

The key issues plaguing the district is drug menace and lack of basic infrastructure in villages close to the Indo-Pak border. It has four constituencies — Ferozepur city, Ferozepur urban, Zira and Guru -Har- Sahai.

Ferozepur city

The constituency had remained in BJP’s share when the party contested the polls in alliance with the BJP. However, the last time BJP won this seat was in 2007. According to 2011 census, this constituency has over 70 per cent Hindu votes. Harrike headworks to regulate canal water, Harrike Pattan, a place where lakhs of migratory birds visit, a neglected war memorial, and Feroze Shah canals are among the landmarks of the constituency apart from the Hussaniwala border.
Sitting MLA

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Parminder Singh Pinki (Congress)

Previous MLAs

2012: Parminder Singh Pinki (Congress)
2007: Sukhpal Nannu (BJP)
2002: Sukhpal Nannu (BJP)

Candidates

The BJP has fielded Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi, a four-time Congress MLA. Sodhi, who remained a minister in Capt Amarinder Singh government, remained Congress MLA from Guru- Har-Sahai. He joined BJP last month but had started campaigning from Ferozepur much earlier. Congress has once again fielded Parminder Singh Pinki, its two-time MLA from here, while SAD has given ticket to Rohit Vohra. Aap has given ticket to Ranveer Bhullar.

Issues

Supply of drugs in this border belt is a cause of concern. Political parties talk about fake FIRs allegedly lodged against political opponents of the sitting MLA. An IED blast took place at Namak Mandi on September 5 last year while a tiffin bomb was recovered from Saideke village on November 3 in which involvement of Pak smugglers was found.

Ferozepur Rural

A rural constituency, on the banks of Sutlej river, this area faces flooding in rainy season. Also residents complain that excess water at times is also released by Pakistan, which worsens the situation. Till 2007, this constituency was known as Ferozepur cantonment.

Sitting MLA
Satkar Kaur ( Congress)

Previous MLAs
2012: Joginder Singh Jindu (SAD)
2007: Janmeja Sekhon (SAD)
2002: Ravinder Singh (Congress)

Candidates

SAD has fielded Joginder Singh Jindu, who had lost to to the sitting MLA Satkar Kaur in 2012. Cong has renominated Satkar Kaur. Paramjeet Singh Mudki is the candidate of CPI ( ML) Liberation while AAP has named Rajnish Dahiya.

Issues

The opposition parties have been raising the issue of promises made by the Congress in 2017 bthat are yet to be fulfilled. In the predominantly rural constituency, problems plaguing the farming community is another big issue.

Zira

Also a rural constituency, where people elected Congress and SAD candidates in turns, but basic issues are yet to be resolved. Sitting MLA Kulbir Singh Zira had spoken against his own government over drugs issue soon after formation of Congress government in 2017.

Sitting MLA

Kulbir Singh Zira (Congress)

Previous MLAs
2012: Hari Singh Zira (SAD)
2007: Naresh Kataria (Congress)
2002: Hari Singh Zira (SAD)

Candidates

Congress has reposed faith in sitting MLA Kul Kulbir Singh Zira while AAAP has nominated Naresh Kumar Kataria, a Congress leader who recently switched over. SAD has fielded former minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon; SAD (Amritsar) Iqbal Chabba and SSM Megraj Ralla.

Issues

Sacrilege remains a big talking point in this constituency. The other big issues are drug menace and road accidents.

Guru- Har-Sahai

For the past 20 years, the seat remained with the Congress as the voters continued to elect Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi since 2002. But now, Sodhi has switched over to BJP. Largely a rural belt, many families, in search of better future, shift to bigger cities for better education and employment.

Sitting MLA
Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi (Congress)
Previous MLAs
2012, 2007, 2002: Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi (Congress)

Candidates
SAD has named Varden Mann as its candidate while AAP has nominated Fauja Singh.

Issues
Drug supply and crime.

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