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Second-generation politician looks for second term as Jalandhar MP

JALANDHAR: A second-generation flesh presser, Jalandhar MP Chaudhary Santokh Singh is the son of overdue Master Gurbanta Singh, one of the most first scheduled caste (SC) leaders of the Congress in Punjab.

His circle of relatives has dominated the party’s Dalit politics in the caste-sensitive Doaba area of Punjab. Though from a political circle of relatives, Santokh contributed to the Congress’s organisation earlier than he entered the political fray. He joined the Youth Congress in the 1970s, when Sanjay Gandhi was at the helm, and was the senior vice-president of the Punjab Young Congress from 1976 to 1982. Chaudhary was arrested in 1972, as he was part of a bunch which barged into the administrative center of the then Punjab chief minister, Parkash Singh Badal, in Chandigarh throughout protests over Indira Gandhi’s arrest.

His paintings in the Youth Congress began to repay in 1987, when he was made the president of Jalandhar Rural District Congress Committee. In 1992, the Congress fielded him for that yr’s assembly election from Phillaur. Many teams of the Akali Dal boycotted that poll and it was a cakewalk for him. Though he had the advantage of being Master Gurbanta Singh’s son, Santokh remained under the political shadow of his elder brother, overdue Chaudhary Jagjit Singh. The latter dominated now not just the Congress, however the politics of the circle of relatives and of the Dalit community in Doaba.

The brothers weren't on the most productive of terms for years. But, earlier than 2014 parliamentary polls, they sank their differences for Santokh’s victory from Jalandhar. However, Jagjit died of a middle attack in August 2015. “He did not go away any stone unturned in that election,” says Santokh. Politics in the circle of relatives has already entered the third era. While Jagjit’s son Chaudhary Surinder Singh was the MLA from Kartarpur in 2017, Santokh’s son Vikramjeet Chaudhary lost in a triangular contest by 2,000 votes. He fought from Santokh’s constituency, Phillaur. Asked what he did as an MP, Santokh says he stayed with constituents and raised “several problems” in Parliament.

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