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Campaign trail: In Dera Bassi, SAD candidate projects himself as the ‘son’ who won’t abandon his constituency after elections

When asked what is on his agenda if he gets a second chance, Sharma says that he has a long list which includes widening of roads, and constructing educational institutes and sports stadiums.

Written by Jagdeep Singh Deep | Dera Bassi |
January 29, 2017 5:31:11 am
Punjab elections, Punjab polls, Punjab assembly elections 2017, Punjab Dera Bassi constituency, NK Sharma, indian express news SAD candidate from Dera Bassi NK Sharma campaigning on Saturday. Express

It’s 8.30 am and Lohgarh village in Zirakpur is abuzz with activity.Sitting MLA from Dera Bassi NK Sharma and a resident of this village is all set to hit the campaign trail. But before he steps out, he discusses the strategy with six members of his core team and then directs them to hand over the day’s schedule. He also gives a brief interview to a private TV channel where he highlights the development works carried out in the last five years. He then leaves his residence at around 9.15 am. He first meets his supporters before heading towards Bhawat village to attend his first election meeting of the day.

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“I am serving you for the last 20 years. You made me a sarpanch, then a councillor and an MLA, I am your son, I am not like the other candidates who only show up during elections and then abandon the constituency. I am a local, so I feel I am a better candidate than others,” Sharma tells the gathering. He goes on to say how he has worked hard to make Zirakpur traffic-free, pollution-free and have solved the problem of drainage. He also talks about some new projects including two sports stadiums, two parks and widening of various roads.

On his way to his next meeting, Sharma shares the problems which are still prevailing in Zirakpur and Dera Bassi. He says that though he worked a lot but there are still some works which are lying pending such as widening of inner roads in Zirakpur and installation of tube wells in some areas. He also agrees that there might be some people who have developed some differences with him but at the same time he confidently says that he will reach out to everyone.

“I am like your son, if anyone is angry with me, keep it inside the family. When someone works, there is a possibility of developing misunderstandings, it happened with me too, but I will be with you, so give me one more chance,” Sharma tells people in his next meeting. Sharma, who defeated Deepinder Singh Dhillon in 2012 is facing a triangular contest this time. Congress has fielded Dhillon while Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has fielded late Akali stalwart Captain Kanwaljeet’s wife Sarbjeet Kaur.

When asked who is his contender, Sharma, downplays AAP and Dhillon saying that both the candidates have no standing against him as they both are outsiders. “Dhillon was in Congress, then he contested as an Independent, before he joined SAD, and again he joined Congress. He is an opportunist. This AAP candidate is also from SAD. I joined SAD and will remain a part of it. People like loyalty, but the other two candidates don’t have it,” Sharma says. Replying to a question if there any effect of demonetisation, Sharma refuses any negative effect of the move. Rather, he says that people are with the move and rejecting other parties claims that it has a negative effect.

“The union budget will be presented on February 1. We will see a lot of positive results of demonitisation. Now banks have surplus money and they can give loans at lesser rate of interests, it will be good for the middle class,” Sharma says. When asked about the drug problem prevailing in the state which is being highlighted by the Congress and AAP, Sharma alleges that there are some people who want to disgrace Punjab and its youths and this is the only reason why the issue is being exaggerated.

“Other parties do not have any agenda, they cannot talk about development, so they are highlighting the issue of drugs. Our community is doing a commendable job across the world and our government has given respect to all the sections. We have a party which did great work in Amritsar, we cannot even think of drugs in our state,” Sharma says.

Sharma’s cavalcade, which include two Innovas then halts at Nabha Sahib village. At the village, he attends a meet where late Captain Kanwaljeet’s son Jasjeet Singh Bunny was also present. Bunny also remained an MLA from Banur after the death of his father. Interestingly, Bunny campaigns for Sharma against his own mother. While addressing the gathering, Bunny takes a dig at Dhillon. He attacks him for contesting against him despite their close relations. He terms AAP as an outsider party.

Sharma, when asked about Bunny, says that he always admire the work done by Captain Kanwaljeet and praises Bunny who is campaigning for him. Sharma’s cavalcade then enters the Swastik Vihar society. On his way, he speaks to his supporters over the phone. When asked what is on his agenda if he gets a second chance, Sharma says that he has a long list which includes widening of roads, and constructing educational institutes and sports stadiums. As he leaves to address his last meeting of the day, he seems little upset with the campaign done by his opponents after being informed by his supporters. He again urges people to give him one more chance on the name of development by shedding all the differences.

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