Monday, Nov 24, 2003
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By Sujay MehdudiaBy Sujay Mehdudia
While Mr. Khurana, the BJP's chief ministerial candidate, makes light of the competition claiming that the Congress had made the going easy for him by fielding a political novice, the young Ms. Lamba, a former Delhi University Students' Union president, is determined to fight. Attempting a major upset in the polls, Ms. Lamba is leaving no stone unturned and is galvanising the youth power to score a point.
She is talking about how the older generation should give way to the youth to bring that much required freshness in the political culture of the Capital. However, Mr. Khurana has an enviable record; he has won nine of the 10 elections he has contested till date.
For his part, Mr. Khurana is unfazed by the young challenge and has vowed to canvass only twice in his area. His wife, Raj Khurana, is making up for his absence from the constituency. Joined by the other family members including Mr. Khurana's son, Vimal Khurana, daughter-in-law, Vandana Khurana, and son-in-law, Rajinder Chhabra, she tours the area from morning till night.
Mr. Khurana won the Moti Nagar seat in 1993 after defeating the high-profile Congress candidate, Anjali Rai, by 9,138. However, he was forced to resign as the Chief Minister in February 1995 following allegations of money taking in the hawala scam. After getting acquitted, Mr. Khurana become a member of Parliament from the Sadar Parliamentary constituency in 1998 and was inducted into the Union Cabinet. He had two stints as a Union Minister before resigning in protest in 2000. He did not contest the 1998 Assembly polls and his protégé, Avinash Sahani, retained the seat by defeating Kanwaljit Singh of Congress by 3,309. This time again Mr. Khurana is making a bid to enter the Assembly from his traditional bastion that is dominated by Punjabi's, professionals, businessmen and a large number of JJ clusters.
For Ms. Lamba this is her maiden major political battle. Well aware of the fact that she faces an uphill task of defeating Mr. Khurana in his own stronghold, the Congress candidate is determined to take the battle into the enemy's camp. Ms. Lamba, general secretary of All India Mahila Congress, has been raising some very pointed queries during her campaign. Assisted by a band of dedicated workers and youth brigade, she is going around the constituency with the message for change.
"Even in a family, old gives way to young. It is high time, Mr. Khurana also followed suit. The people should look towards the future as the BJP has nothing to offer except outdated promises and an extremely disappointing agenda,'' the former National Students Union of India (NSUI) president remarked. Despite attempts by her opponents to rake up her personal life, she is unperturbed and is all the more determined to expose such low level tactics. She also questions the commitment of Mr.Khurana towards Delhi asking why he left Delhi for taking up greener pastures in the Central Government. "Why did he not contest the last Assembly elections if he was so dedicated to Delhi? Why is he not resigning his Lok Sabha seat if he terms himself as "pujari'' of Delhi?'' she asks.
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