Seeking to provide a non-BJP, non-Congress alternative to voters, PDA's Khadoor Sahib candidate Paramjit Kaur Khaira says she is fighting elections on human rights issues and to carry on the legacy of her activist husband who was killed by police 24 years ago.
Khalra, who said her electoral fight is a signal from god, is a member of the Punjabi Ekta Party, part of the Punjab Democratic Alliance.
Her husband Jaswant Singh Khalra, who accused Punjab Police of disposing of unidentified bodies of Sikh youth gunned down in fake encounters during the militancy years in the 1990s, was picked up from his house in Khalra village in Tarn Taran district and killed by police in 1995. Six police personnel were sentenced to life for his killing.
Contesting polls is god's signal. It was not pre-decided to fight elections, said Khalra, being projected as a panthic' (religious) face by the PDA.
The PDA comprises the Sukhpal Singh Khaira-led Punjab Ekta Party (PEP), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Lok Insaaf Party (LIP), the Punjab Manch led by suspended AAP MP Dharamvira Gandhi, the CPI and the Revolutionary Marxist Party of India.
I will raise the issue of human rights and will fight polls for the cause of human rights. The youth are dying of drugs in Punjab. Is it not a human rights issue? Khaira asked.
There have been incidents of sacrilege of religious scriptures in the state. Two youths were also killed during police firing (on anti-sacrilege protesters in Faridkot in 2015). But successive governments have been fooling people and have never bothered to address these issues, she told PTI.
The Sikh community, Khaira said, can tolerate every hardship and even bear the pain of their children's deaths but cannot accept the desecration of religious scriptures.
"The issue is still alive in the minds of the people, the 64-year-old said.
She makes sure to remind people of her husband's sacrifice during her campaign speeches.
Taking a swipe at the Akali Dal, Khalra said the mishandling of incidents of police firing and those related to the sacrilege of religious scriptures reduced the party to the third spot in the 2017 Assembly polls.
Khalra said she is getting an overwhelming response from the people.
People who are fed up with traditional parties Congress and Akali Dal -- will support the third front, she said.
Chief of the SAD (Taksali) Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, the sitting MP from Khadoor Sahib, is asking the PDA to field Khalra as Independent candidate in order to ensure support of more like-minded parties to ensure her victory in the polls.
Khalra is pitted against Akali candidate, former MLA and two-time Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief Bibi Jagir Kaur, and Congress' Jasbir Singh Dimpa. The AAP has fielded its youth wing leader Manjinder Singh Sidhu from the parliamentary constituency.
In 1999, Khalra unsuccessfully contested from the erstwhile Tarn Taran parliamentary constituency. She was at that time a candidate of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal floated by the late Gurcharan Singh Tohra.
Khadoor Sahib, which was created from the erstwhile Tarn Taran constituency following delimitation in 2008, has been a citadel of the Akali Dal.
Brahmpura defeated Congress candidate Harminder Singh Gill with a margin of over one lakh votes in 2014. He joined hands with Rattan Singh Ajnala to float the SAD (Taksali) after raising the banner of revolt against the Akali leadership.
Punjab votes on May 19, the last phase of the Lok Sabha elections. The votes will be counted on May 23.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)