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Anil Joshi eyeing hat-trick from Amritsar North

Amritsar: Punjab minister Anil Joshi is eyeing a hat-trick from Amritsar North constituency claiming people will re-elect him on the basis of development, even as opposition candidates from Congress and AAP exude confidence that they will dislodge the senior BJP leader.

52-year-old Joshi had defeated Congress’ Karamjit Rintu by a margin of about 17,000 votes in the 2012 assembly elections and Congress’ Jugal Kishore Sharma by over 14,000 votes in the 2007 polls.

Former Mayor Sunil Dutti (56), who is Congress’ candidate, and Aam Aadmi Party’s Manish Aggarwal (45) are among 13 candidates, who are in fray for the seats, five of whom are Independents.

Interestingly, a tea vendor turned-dhaba owner, B K Sharma (56), has also jumped in the fray as an Independent candidate for this seat, which has a voter strength of 1,73,134 including 90,477 males and 82,650 females.

Considered close to Union minister Arun Jaitley, the two-time legislator Joshi is also known for his love of cycling and never misses a chance to meet people during his routine morning walk.

The BJP leader is also appreciated by some for development work including the Durgiana Mandir beautification project and also a project for beautification of Ram Bagh.

Projecting himself as ‘Vikas Purash’ in his campaign posters, Amritsar North constituency has new roads, footpaths, cycle tracks, fountains, efficient sewerage system and Theme Street lighting as well.

Historic Ram Bagh, housing summer palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, has been developed into a picnic spot.

With BRTS system to be put in place soon, vehicular pollution on the roads of the holy city, which remains choc-o-bloc with traffic, the city residents will get alternate means of transport.

Cycle stands are also being developed from where people can rent bicycles and enjoy a healthy ride, says Joshi.

“I have been working hard to bring in development. Now, I leave it up to you to judge,” Joshi says seeking votes in the name of development.

He says if given another term, he will work even harder in the next term.

On the other hand, Congress has fielded Dutti to take on Joshi this time even as Karamjit Singh Rintu had been a strong contender for the party ticket.

Dutti claims that there is a “Congress wave” in Punjab and people are keen to vote the party back to power.

“There are so many issues which people are facing. The SAD-BJP have looted and destroyed Punjab. We need to save Punjab,” he says.

The common people and small traders were hit hard by demonetisation and are still reeling under its impact, Dutti says.

If voted to power, Dutti promises to work hard to bring development projects to Amritsar.

AAP’s Aggarwal appeals to people to give one chance to his party “to transform Punjab”.

“We will provide a clean government. We have not come here to become leaders, but to serve the masses. I appeal you to give us one chance. Providing good education and affordable healthcare will be our priority. The drug menace will be totally eliminated,” he says appealing the people to cast their vote in AAP’s favour.

Independent candidate Sharma’s concern is that everyone should get hygienic and cheap food, efficient mode of transportation, potable drinking water, cheap vegetables and fruits and raises these issues during his campaigning.

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