Taranjit Singh Sandhu in Amritsar, Harsh Vardhan Shringla in Darjeeling: Former diplomats expand outreach ahead of LS elections : The Tribune India

Join Whatsapp Channel

Taranjit Singh Sandhu in Amritsar, Harsh Vardhan Shringla in Darjeeling: Former diplomats expand outreach ahead of LS elections

Taranjit Singh Sandhu in Amritsar, Harsh Vardhan Shringla in Darjeeling: Former diplomats expand outreach ahead of LS elections

Taranjit Singh Sandhu and Harsh Vardhan Shringla



Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, February 25

Distinguished former diplomat Taranjit Singh Sandhu is back in Amritsar, the land of his ancestors, and making waves with a series of interactions with diverse sets of people — doctors and farmers to entrepreneurs and students.

Foray into politics

Seasoned former diplomats have risen through the ranks under Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led dispensation. The PM had earlier inducted former diplomat Hardeep Singh Puri into the council of ministers, elevating him to Cabinet rank in 2021. Former foreign secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar was made a Cabinet minister in 2019.

After wrapping up a 35-year government service capped by a highly successful stint as India’s Ambassador to the US, Sandhu has turned his attention to ways in which Amritsar can realise its full potential and brain drain can be halted.

“It feels great to be back home. I hope I can give back to the city whatever possible in my own humble ways and to that end I have been meeting groups of people. The idea is to collaborate with the residents for maximising this historic city’s agricultural, trade, entrepreneurial and tourism potential,” Sandhu, 61, told The Tribune on Sunday, with his active presence in the city creating a buzz around whether he could be BJP’s pick to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha election from the segment.

Sandhu steers clear of politics, placing his presence in Amritsar in the context of his emotional connection with the place.

“This is the place my ancestors nurtured and served,” Sandhu said remembering his grandfather Teja Singh Samundri, one of the founders of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. Teja Singh quit the British army to join the independence and gurdwara reforms movement. He died in his 40s in a Lahore jail in 1926 under colonial custody.

Sandhu’s father Bishan Singh Samundri was principal of the historic Khalsa College in Amritsar and later founder Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University.

“My father studied at Ohio State University but returned to Amritsar and served here. My mother too studied abroad and came back to Amritsar. She was principal of Government College for Women, Amritsar,” says son of the soil Sandhu, who hopes to spend some more days in the city, meeting people, walking down memory lane and charting a new course after an illustrious life as a career diplomat.

Sandhu’s X timeline caps the retired diplomat’s holy city forays, triggering talks of a possible LS poll foray. It is dotted with frames from Sandhu’s visits to his ancestral home and pear farm; engagement with prominent farmers; prayers at Harmandir Sahib, Durgiana Mandir and Ram Tirath; tributes at the Jallianwala Bagh Memorial — vignettes that signal new tidings.

Far away in West Bengal’s Darjeeling, another son of the soil — former foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla — is busy touring and engaging people through his organisation Darjeeling Welfare Society. Shringla’s presence has similarly generated a buzz around his possible General Election contest from the seat that has elected BJP leaders since 2009.

In Amritsar, the BJP has struggled since 2014, when then Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley lost to Congress veteran Amarinder Singh despite the Narendra Modi wave.

In 2019 again, Congress’ Gurjit Aujla defeated BJP’s Hardeep Puri from the segment.

Earlier, Navjot Singh Sidhu represented the Amritsar LS seat for the BJP between 2004 and 2014.

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.


Top News

J&K will get statehood, time not far for Assembly poll: PM Modi in Udhampur

J&K will get statehood, time not far for Assembly poll: PM Modi in Udhampur

Dares Opposition to bring back Article 370, says Ram Temple ...

Congress all set to field 3 sitting MPs

Congress all set to field 3 sitting MPs from Punjab

Central election panel meets today


Cities

View All