Akali-turned Congressman and former Indian hockey team captain Pargat Singh, who is contesting from the Jalandhar Cantt constituency, is confident that he will “knockout everyone” in the Punjab Assembly polls and that people will evaluate him by his work this time. Once considered close to Deputy Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, 52-year-old Pargat parted ways with SAD last year after he took a stand against the waste-management plant, which was proposed to set up by the government in his constituency. The plant cropped up as a prime issue after residents of villages around Jamsher, the project site, lodged protests. After leaving the Akalis, Pargat joined hands with cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu to float Awaaz-e-Punjab forum in September last year. However, later, both Sidhu and Pargat joined the Congress and while the former is contesting from Amritsar-East Assembly segment, Pargat was fielded from the constituency in Assembly elections.
Assembly polls in Punjab will be held on February 4. “I do politics based on principles. When I raised my voice against the waste plant, I did so because that was not in the people’s interest. Had this plant come up here, the entire area would have been in a mess as hundreds of truckloads of waste would have come daily from the entire Doaba area. My constituents opposed it, so I took a stand against it,” he says, often mentioning the same during his campaigning too.
Pargat, who made his electoral debut in 2012 contesting as a SAD candidate and defeating Congress’ sitting MLA Jagbir Singh Brar, says he worked hard to undertake development works in his constituency, which is a mix of rural and urban areas.
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The development works included building of 140 km of rural roads, he points out.Exuding confidence of winning this time, Pargat says, “I believe in team work. Our team is good, we will knockout everyone. People will judge me by my work this time.”
About his venture with Congress, the former hockey skipper says, “People have high hopes from the party. Everyone is looking for a change this time and give Congress a chance.” Among the nine candidates including Pargat who are in fray from the Jalandhar Cantt constituency, SAD has fielded Sarabjit Singh Makkar (57) while Harkrishan Singh Walia (37) has been fielded by the AAP.