Ruchika M Khanna
Chandigarh, May 31
The filing of nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha traditionally happens with a lot of fanfare. This time, however, the two nominees of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) — environmentalist Balbir Singh Seechewal and industrialist-turned philanthropist Vikramjit Singh Sahney — filed their nominations without the usual frills.
My agenda is to ensure that Chitti Bein is cleaned and no industrial waste is dumped into it. I will be Punjab’s voice against the depleting groundwater table. — Balbir Singh Seechewal, Environmentalist
More skill centres
I will use my connections across the political spectrum to help build more skill development centres in Punjab and ensure that youth get gainful employment. — Vikramjit Singh Sahney, Industrialist
They were accompanied by Finance Minister Harpal Cheema and Rural Development Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal.
No other party leader was present on the occasion, apparently because the government is on the back foot since the cremation of slain singer Sidhu Moosewala was scheduled for the afternoon.
The two nominees later met Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and Rajya Sabha member Raghav Chaddha. Since no other person from any other party filed the nomination papers on the last day today, the election of Seechewal and Sahney is certain.
Their win will be declared on June 3, the last date for the withdrawal of nominations.
About his plans in the Rajya Sabha, Seechewal, who is called “Eco Baba”, told The Tribune he would continue his campaign for clean rivers and environment.
“My agenda is to ensure that Chitti Bein is cleaned and no industrial waste is dumped into it. I will be Punjab’s voice against the depleting groundwater table and seek help from the Centre for replenishing it,” he said.
Sahney, who has been running 22 skill development centres across Punjab, said he would be using his close friendships across the political spectrum to help build more skill development centres in the state and ensure that youth get gainful employment.
“My NGO, Sun Foundation, has already arranged jobs for 1,000 youths, who will be given job letters in June. My aim is to ensure 10,000 jobs for the youth. I will be seeking a social entrepreneurship model from the Centre to be implemented in rural areas of the state,” he said, adding he would use MPLAD funds on the skill upgrade of youth and drug de-addiction.
Both Seechewal and Sahney had not approached the AAP leadership for their nomination. It was the other way round.
It took a lot of convincing by CM Mann to get Seechewal on board, assuring him he would neither be called for political rallies nor asked to seek votes for AAP.
Sahney claims he had never met any AAP leader till he was called by party supremo Arvind Kejriwal last week. “The party initially approached me to expand my NGO’s reach. When AAP leaders saw my work, they approached me for the Rajya Sabha nomination,” he said.
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