Batala-based Sikh bizman in reckoning for BJP ticket for Lok Sabha from Gurdaspur : The Tribune India

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Batala-based Sikh bizman in reckoning for BJP ticket for Lok Sabha from Gurdaspur

With RSS backing, may help woo both Hindu and Sikh votes

Batala-based Sikh bizman in reckoning for BJP ticket for Lok Sabha from Gurdaspur

Paramajit Singh Gill



Tribune News Service

Ravi Dhaliwal

Gurdaspur, March 1

The entry of Batala-based businessman Paramajit Singh Gill as a contender for the BJP ticket from the Gurdaspur parliamentary constituency has set alarm bells ringing among his rivals who are also eyeing the ticket. This is because Gill’s links with the top echelons of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) are well known in political circles.

It is a fact in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that when it comes to ticket distribution, the RSS plays a vital role. Recommendations from Nagpur are treated as gospel and are seldom overlooked by the BJP leaders who decide the tickets.

Scores of hoardings and boards, carrying Gill’s photograph alongside the PM’s picture, have come up at strategic places in the three main towns of Gurdaspur parliamentary constituency— Pathankot, Gurdaspur and Batala.

There are also strong indications this time that the BJP may pitch for a Sikh contender as its candidate irrespective of whether the alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) happens or not. This is primarily due to the fact that the constituency has five assembly seats which have a heavy concentration of Sikh votes, hence, a Sikh candidate’s nomination will be well received in these seats. These are Dera Baba Nanak, Qadian, Fatehgarh Churian, Batala and Gurdaspur. Paramjit’s RSS links have the potential to carry him through in the Hindu dominated seats of Sujanpur, Bhoa, Pathankot and Dinanagar.

His only disadvantage is that he has no experience of electoral politics. However, at the same time, senior party leaders who are pitching for his nomination point out that when Vinod Khanna was fielded by the BJP for the first time in 1998, he had absolutely no inkling of how elections are contested. “However, he won by a massive margin of more than 70,000 votes. In 2019, Sunny Deol was a political greenhorn when the party gave him the ticket. Still, he triumphed by 77,000 votes,” said a party leader.

Paramjit, who as a businessman deals with the departments of railways and defence, is actively involved in the ‘Himalaya Parivar’ initiative of the RSS. At present, he is the national vice-president of the organisation and has remained its Punjab state president from 2017 till 2022 before he was promoted to the national body.

‘Himalaya Parivar’ deals with people living near the borders, particularly those near China. The body makes sure that these people are not easily swayed by neighbouring countries and helps them in maintaining their Indian identity.

Gill has led several delegations to these border areas imparting his party’s ideology and also making sure that these people do not get socially alienated from India.

Sources reveal he has thrown his hat into the electoral ring only after some RSS leaders and Union ministers advised him to do so.

Over the years, he has acquired the reputation of being a fundraiser for the political class, cutting across party lines.

On the request of the BJP Central leadership, Gill is preparing a ‘manifesto’ to be submitted to the party in which he has highlighted the work that needs to be done in this border constituency. “The need of the hour is to request the Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) to start experiments to see whether there are oil reserves in the area or not. The Pakistani government has found oil reserves on its side of the border just near Gurdaspur. The ONGC should at least explore the possibility of locating oil in this district. This will bring immense economic prosperity,” he says.

“The constituency badly needs a mega-hospital on the lines of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) while the Gurdaspur-Mukerian four- lane project also needs to be taken to its logical conclusion. Then there is the issue of drugs and organic farming to be addressed,” he says.

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The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#BJP #Gurdaspur #Lok Sabha #RSS #Sikhs


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