Charge of youth brigadeMay 5th, 2009 | By Elections2009 | Category: Candidate watch
Sujay Mehdudia, Sirsa
Ashok Tanwar represents the new face of the Congress party
Coming from an ordinary Dalit family in Jhajjar village of Haryana, with no political background or godfather, Indian Youth Congress president, Ashok Tanwar represents the changing face of the Indian polity. His rise from the ranks to fight his first electoral battle from the Sirsa (SC) Lok Sabha seat as the Congress candidate has been no mean achievement for the 33-year-old.
Mr. Tanwar has now become an important component of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s plans to revamp the youth organisation and promote youth power in a big way. Considered close to the Gandhi family, Mr. Tanwar’s position in Mr. Gandhi’s scheme of things can be gauged from the fact he was given the party ticket over the claim of the sitting Congress MP, Atma Singh Gill.
“I represent the youth who have been empowered by Mr. Gandhi. He is very keen on youth playing a major role in shaping the future of the country and that is why you see me here contesting,” Mr. Tanwar told this correspondent.
The INLD has also changed its nominee for the Sirsa seat, denying a ticket to its two-time MP, Sushil Indora, and nominating 41-year-old Sita Ram, sitting MLA from Dabwali, in its bid to make it an insider versus outsider battle; it is calling Mr. Tanwar an outsider. The Haryana Janhit Congress has fielded Rajender Dhanak, the BSP Rajesh Vaid and CPI(M) Ram Kumar Behbalpuria from the seat.
Delimitation has altered the demographics of the constituency, which borders Punjab and Rajasthan. Sikhs form a major chunk of the voters and the presence of Dera Saccha Sauda, which is headquartered in Sirsa and whose animosity to the Akali Dal is well known, could favour Mr. Tanwar.
Of the 12 elections held for the Sirsa parliamentary constituency after 1967, the Congress won seven, and the INLD five. Union Minister of State for Poverty Alievation, Kumari Selja and her father Dalbir Singh have together won the Sirsa seat six times. While Mr. Dalbir Singh won from here in 1967, 1971, 1980 and 1984 parliamentary elections, Ms. Selja won in 1991 and 1996.
Sirsa has returned outside candidates more often than not and the May 7 vote will give a verdict if the people of Sirsa go for an insider or an outsider.