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Congress meeting its past in Ludhiana

May 08, 2009 12:41 IST

Ludhiana is weaving a contest in which the Congress will meet its past, as the two main rivals in the textile city of Punjab are former Congressmen.

Current Congress candidate and its national spokesman Manish Tewari is up against former party men Gurcharan Singh Galib and Kehar Singh, who have switched loyalty to the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Bahujan Samaj Party, respectively.

While Galib snapped an over four-decade-old tie with the Congress just two months ago after being denied a ticket, Singh was a leader of the Backward Class cell of the Congress before switching the loyalty to the Congress.

However, apprehending that the past party men may eat into its traditional vote bases due to their long association with it, the Congress is playing the Manmohan Singh card to woo voters, according to political observers.

In the Sikh-dominated segments of the constituency, the party supporters are appealing to people to vote for the Congress to have a Sikh Prime Minister. Moreover, where there is less Sikh population, party supporters are seeking votes by describing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a man of bold decisions.

Congress candidate Manish Tewari has described the Prime Minister as a great economist and a man who took bold decisions, including the one for finalising the Indo-US nuclear deal.

To magnify the impact of its appeal, the party has roped in Delhi-based Sikh leaders headed by Parmjit Singh Sarna, who is the President of the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee, for campaigning.

Spelling out his vision for Ludhiana, Tewari said he would like to bring back those industries which have shifted their bases from here, apart from furthering the process of industrialisation.

"Agriculture will also remain my top most priority because it is the cornerstone of our economy," he added. Striving to strike an emotional chord with the youth, he maintained that the young people are putting everything at stake to go abroad to try their luck due to lack of jobs here.

"And unfortunately those dreams go sour," he pointed out, adding that his development policy would be youth-oriented.

On the other hand, Akali-BJP combine candidate Gurcharn Singh Galib justified his switch-over from the Congress, saying it has lost its old culture, philosophy and values.

"Old, loyal and self-respecting persons with ideas have no place in the present day set-up of the party (Congress) where stalwarts like Arjun Singh are being humiliated and intentionally cornered," Galib said.

The Akali-BJP combination is the only combination best suited for the state, he pointed out, adding that the SAD is the only party that has worked for the development and interests of the people of the state.

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