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BJP looks to wrest seat from Congress as keen contest unfolds in Hoshiarpur

Monday, 28 April 2014 - 12:30pm IST | Place: Hoshiarpur | Agency: PTI

It was by a narrow margin of 366 votes that Congress had snatched this seat from BJP in 2009 and now, five years later, candidates from the two parties are once again set for a tight contest here in this SC reserved constituency when polling takes place on April 30.

Both parties have put up new nominees for the Hoshiarpur (SC) seat with Congress deciding against fielding sitting MP Santosh Chowdhary and instead handing the ticket to Jalandhar MP Mohan Singh Kaypee.

The BJP candidate for the seat is Dalit leader and another Jalandhar resident, Vijay Sampla.

Chowdhary, who is the Union minister of state for health and family welfare, had defeated BJP's Som Parkash last time.

Given the close race in 2009, the ruling SAD-BJP alliance would be hoping that Sampla will wrest the seat this time from Congress.

Like other BJP contenders across the country, the 52-year -old Sampla too is counting on the 'Narendra Modi wave' to see him through and is also targeting Congress for the lack of growth here in this mainly sub-mountainous Kandi area.

"There is a Modi wave in the country. The Modi factor will definitely benefit BJP candidates in these polls," he says.

He also hopes to turn the tide in his favour here by raising issues of price hike and corruption under the Congress -led UPA regime.

"People are fed up with the exorbitant prices of essential commodities and corruption which took place under the Congress regime," he claims.

Meanwhile, 57-year-old Kaypee assures voters that he will bring heavy industries like railway coach factory and oil refinery to the constituency and create job opportunities for the youth here.

"There is a lack of job opportunities in the district. I will leave no stone unturned in bringing heavy industries here," he says as looks to retain the seat for Congress.

Although there is a talk of infighting among Congress workers, he dismisses that and says the party is putting up a united fight.

During campaigning here, the soft-spoken Kaypee accuses the ruling SAD-BJP for its wrong policies which he claims led to the "exodus" of local industries to neighbouring states.

The Hoshiarpur Lok Sabha constituency comprises nine Assembly segments of which the SAD-BJP combine won six in the 2012 elections while Congress clinched two. One seat went to an Independent candidate.

The total number of voters in this Lok Sabha constituency is 14.73 lakh of which 7.2 lakh are women. Polling is slated to be held in Hoshiarpur along with the rest of Punjab on April 30.

Since 1952, the seat has been won eight times by Congress candidates, notable among those is former President, the late Giani Zail Singh, who successfully contested from here in 1980.

The seat has also been represented by BSP founder Kanshi Ram, who won it in 1996. Besides, former defence minister late Baldev Singh and former Punjab chief minister Darbara Singh, too, have represented the Hoshiarpur seat in Parliament.

Looking to make inroads here is the Aam Aadmi Party, which has fielded the 39-year-old Yamini Gomar as its candidate for the seat.

Also in the fray are nominees of BSP and SAD (Amritsar), Bhagwan Singh Chohan and Shamsher Singh, respectively.




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