Jangveer Singh, Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, March 9. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) secured the youth vote with 11 of its 13 candidates turning victorious at the hustings. In comparison, the Congress bagged only two of the six seats allotted to its youth members.
Six young Akali candidates won in the Majha belt – Youth SAD chief Bikram Majithia (Majitha), Inderbir Bolaria (Amritsar South), Amarpal Bonny (Ajnala), Manjit S Manna (Baba Bakala), Bajit S Jalalusma (Jandiala) and Harmeet Singh (Tarn Taran).
In the Doaba belt, Pawan Kumar Teenu was victorious from Adampur. In Malwa,Virender Kaur Loomba (Shutrana), Harpreet Singh (Malout), Parminder Dhindsa (Sunam) and Manpreet Ayali (Dakha) emerged winners.
Remarkably, most of the Youth SAD candidates won their seats with respectable margins. Several downed Congress stalwarts: Jalalusma defeated former Excise Minister Sardool Singh, Ayali defeated Jassi Khangura and Bolaria defeated Jasbir Singh Dimpa.
The Congress was able to win only two of the six seats allotted to its Youth Congress members – Kuljit Nagra from Fatehgarh Sahib and Raja Waring from Gidderabaha. The party’s young candidates were defeated in Ferozepur Rural, Payal, Balachaur and Majitha.
There seems to be two factors behind the success of young SAD candidates. One, most of them were groomed by SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal during 2002-2007 when the SAD-BJP was in Opposition.
Second, Youth SAD president Bikram Majithia energised the youth wing holding district-level meetings and roadshows during the last one year. Majithia supervised the campaign of the youth wing leaders in Majha besides campaigning for those in Doaba and Malwa.
The Punjab Youth Congress could not be energised with its state president Vikramjit Chaudhary busy campaigning for his father Chaudhary Santokh in Phillaur.The Congress could not win this seat.
The SAD empowered its youth leaders with Parambans Romana appointed Improvement Trust Chairman in Faridkot, Kanwarjit Barkandi as District Cooperative Bank Chairman at Muktsar and Manpreet Ayali as Zila Parishad Chairman in Ludhiana. These appointments were a game changer for the SAD and ensured the youth vote did not shift to the PPP in a big way.
Game Changer: Factors behind success
Most of the young Akali candidates were groomed by SAD chief Sukhbir Badal during 2002-2007 when the SAD-BJP alliance was in the Opposition.
Bikram Majithia energised the Akali youth wing holding district-level meetings and several roadshows in the past one year.
SAD empowered its youth leaders with Parambans Romana appointed Improvement Trust chief in Faridkot, Kanwarjit Barkandi as District Coop Bank chief at Muktsar and Manpreet Ayali as Zila Parishad chief in Ludhiana. So the youth voted for the SAD.