Gurdaspur Diary: BJP may field Sikh candidate in 2024


There are strong indications that the BJP may settle down for a Sikh as its candidate for the Gurdaspur parliamentary seat for the 2024 General Elections. Ex-Qadian MLA Fateh Jung Baja, who shifted loyalties to the saffron party in the run-up to the assembly polls has emerged as a frontrunner. He was denied the Congress ticket following a family feud from the Qadian seat. The logic behind fielding a Sikh is that this constituency has a total of nine assembly seats out of which six are dominated by the Sikh electorate. After exiting the Congress, Fateh has remained busy developing contacts with the senior Delhi-based leadership. Whenever a central BJP leader visits Punjab, Bajwa is always in tow. In November, at the behest of Bajwa, Union Minister Meenakshi Lekhi held a meeting with workers of the ailing Dhariwal Woollen Mills. She had assured Fateh that she would be taking up the demands of the employees with the Union Textile Ministry. Incidentally, Dhariwal township falls in his old assembly seat of Qadian. Fateh has been touring the constituency. He has been in the forefront of meeting senior leaders and apprising them about the problems being faced by the industrial lobby of the ‘steel-town’ of Batala. In the 2022 assembly polls, he was given ticket by the BJP to contest from Batala. That he lost, and how and why he lost, is a story meant for some other day.

The last Jat Sikh leader to represent the Gurdaspur parliamentary seat in the Lok Sabha was Fateh’s brother Partap Singh Bajwa who remained MP from 2009 till 2014. Yet another Jat Sikh Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder remained a five-time MP. Her tenure as an MP extended from 1980 till 1997 when film actor Vinod Khanna ended her winning streak. Bhinder and Partap have shown that there is indeed a fair sprinkling of Jat Sikh votes in the area. It is on this basis that Fateh Bajwa is emerging as a clear contender.

SP Prabhjot Singh Virk makes city proud

Pathankot city residents recalled with pride the work done by Deputy Commissioner of Police (Amritsar-2) Prabhjot Singh Virk who last week was conferred upon with the Police Medal for Meritorious Services. He remained in the city for five years, three as DSP and two as SP (Detective). He was posted as a DSP (Rural), Pathankot when three Lashkar-e-Taiba militants laid siege to the Dinanagar police station on July 27, 2015. He reached the police station when cross-firing was at its peak. He joined hands with other officers to neutralise the terrorists. Later, he was awarded the DGP Commendation Disc for his services in the Dinanagar attack. He joined Punjab Police in 2004 as an Inspector and since then he has risen through the ranks. The SP says, “Punjab Police is one big family. And in this family nobody fights alone. That is why in a joint effort we gunned down the three Dinanagar militants within hours of their taking control of the police station. I am a firm believer in the dictum that ‘police officers must obey the law while enforcing the law’. We in the police force work for a cause, not for applause.”

(Contributed by Ravi Dhaliwal)