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LS polls: BJP candidate from Amritsar lays vision to revamp India-Pak border areas

Amritsar, April 13, 2024
Starting his day before dawn by offering prayers in Sikh’s holiest shrine, the Golden Temple, here on Saturday, BJP candidate from Punjab’s Amritsar Parliamentary constituency, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, the diplomat-turned-politician who is making his electoral debut, said he has vision to redress hurdles of farmers settled along the India-Pakistan border.

During his visit close to the Zero Line at Zirpur village in Amritsar district, Sandhu interacted with local farmers and heard about their issues, as well as shared his vision to revamp border areas in three major aspects.

The first is to address hurdles by boosting farmers’ incomes; second, infrastructure development for better market connectivity; and third, enhancing education access and skill development opportunities for their children.

Before visiting border areas, Sandhu, a 1988-batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer who shared a video of his interaction with US President Joe Biden during his stint as the US Ambassador, offered prayers at the Golden Temple.

“Blessed to start Vaisakhi with ‘darshan’ at Sri Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar. Wishing everyone a joyful and prosperous Vaisakhi.

May the divine blessings of the Almighty bring happiness, peace, and prosperity to all on this auspicious harvest festival,” he wrote in a post on X. Responding to his video with Biden, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar sent him a congratulatory message by saying: “He certainly represented India very well.”

“He looks so distinguished every time I see him. This is how an ambassador should look like,” Biden told Sandhu during his interaction amid the presence of S. Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

A close aide of Sandhu told IANS that on an average, he holds three-four public meetings a day in which he interacts with locals from all walks of life to understand their issues.

“He prefers to interact with civil society members, local community, students, farmers, traders, besides members of trade organisations. In every interaction, his focus is first to listen to their problems and then lay out his roadmap,” the aide added.

On Friday, he had an interactive discussion with the Amritsar Textile Processors Association.

“Will create a vibrant and flourishing ecosystem for the textile sector’s prosperity through better connectivity, infrastructure and policy support,” Sandhu, who belongs to Amritsar, was quoted as saying.

During his campaigning trail amid the soaring heat, he could be seen enjoying a refreshing glass of fresh suagrcane juice from a roadside vendor.

Almost every day, Sandhu, known for his wide network in the US political and administrative set-up, prefers to seek divine blessings by visiting a Hindu or a Sikh shrine during his campaigning almost every day.

Sandhu is the grandson of former Congress leader and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) founder member Teja Singh Samundri.

Sandhu on March 19 joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), almost two months after he wrapped up his term in office in Washington DC.

Sandhu has a rich family heritage.

His father, Bishan Singh Samundri, was the founding Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar.

His mother, Jagjit Kaur, was the principal of Government College for Women in Amritsar.

His grandfather quit the British army to join the Independence and gurdwara reforms movement.

He died in his 40s in Lahore Jail in 1926 under colonial custody.

Now, Samundri Hall in Sri Harmandir Sahib is named in his memory.

Punjab’s 13 Lok Sabha seats are slated to go to the polls in a single phase on June 1.

During the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress-led UPA won the maximum — eight seats — in the state, while the BJP-led NDA managed to secure victory in four seats — two each for the BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).(Agency)

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