LS election: Independents throw their hat in the ring : The Tribune India

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LS election: Independents throw their hat in the ring

LS election: Independents throw their hat in the ring

Independent candidate BK Sharma (right) during his door-to-door campaigning in Amritsar on Thursday. Photo: Vishal Kumar



Tribune News Service

Manmeet Singh Gill

Amritsar, May 23

While most of the 30 candidates contesting the Lok Sabha elections from here are independents, a majority of them are unknown faces who do not have the resources and manpower to compete with the candidates of traditional political parties.

Said Prithvi Pal, a retired Agriculture Sub-Inspector, who is among the 18 independent candidates, “I am trying my luck. You must have heard of Satpal Dang. He used to roam around on a bicycle but still became a minister. If he could become a minister, why not me.”

What Prithvi Pal does not know is that Satpal Dang had a life-long commitment towards people and the communist ideology because of which he left Mumbai and came to Chheharta. Also back then, money and muscle power were not the basic pre-requisites for winning an election.

Prithvi Pal said, “Lottery tan kise di v lag sakdi e” (anyone can win a lottery). However, as he himself admitted, he had bought lottery tickets on many occasions but was never lucky enough to win.

Harjinder Pal, a retired government teacher who is also contesting, said, “My major concern is that the government has started New Pension Scheme by stopping the Old Pension Scheme.” He said he is asking government employees to vote for him to let the government know how many of them want the Old Pension Scheme revived.

Even though government teachers have powerful unions, Harjinder Pal was not very active in their activities while he was in government service. But somehow, he has decided to contest the elections. “I do not have the money as I cannot even spend Rs 2 lakh on campaigning.” Unlike Prithvi Pal, who is trying his luck, Harjinder Pal is merely trying to make a statement.

With a large number of independents in the fray, making election preparations has become challenging. And with many of them being non-serious candidates who are not even trying to reach out to the voters, questions can be raised on the eligibility criteria.

“It is a difficult question. If the criterion is tough, it would be against the democratic principles which allow everyone to contest. And if it is so simple, then there are chances that those who want to be in the

limelight will always be ready to try their luck,” said a retired teacher of political science, Prempal Singh.

About The Author

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.

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