Owing to a moderate presence of Sikhs on the Terai area of Uttarakhand, the Congress has drawn up plans for invite ‘star campaigners’ from the community for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The names include former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu.
The party also wants to bring Congress national general secretary Priyanka Gandhi to the Terai region to woo voters.
The Terai area has sizeable presence of Sikhs in the assembly segments of Jaspur, Kashipur, Rudrapur, Gadarpur, Bajpur, Sitarganj and Nanakmatta. The Sikh population of the terai is said to be around 5%, making it a good vote bank.
However, the importance of the Sikh community lies in the fact that they own large tracts of land and figure among the big farmers, holding immense economic clout.
Congress state unit chief Pritam Singh said, “The state unit has requested the party high command for rallies by many senior leaders like Priyanka Gandhi, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Sachin Pilot, Amrinder Singh and Sidhu. The final decision would be taken by it about whom to send and not to send for the campaigning in Uttarakhand.”
Leader of opposition in the state assembly Indira Hridyesh, who is a claimant for Congress ticket from the Nainital Lok Sabha seat, said they were sending a proposal to the All India Congress Committee requesting for sending former PM Manmohan Singh, Amarinder Singh and Sidhu to the Terai region as star campaigners as they can make a good mark among the voters.
However, Harbhajan Singh Cheema, the BJP MLA from Kashipur, said the Sikh population of the Terai votes on the various issues confronting their Lok Sabha segment as well as the whole country.
“It is not that the Congress can get Sikh votes by merely bringing some ‘star campaigners’ from this community. Many of the Sikhs who used to earlier vote for the Congress have shifted away and are solidly behind the BJP,” he said.
(With inputs from Kalyan Das in Dehradun)
Mar 14, 2019 15:32 IST
Article source: https://www.hindustantimes.com/lok-sabha-elections/lok-sabha-elections-2019-manmohan-singh-sidhu-on-uttarakhand-congress-wish-list-of-campaigners-to-woo-sikh-voters/story-loi559TnsYLxBw2MXgZimI.html