BJP LS candidate Taranjit Singh Sandhu’s vision — building Amritsar’s trade corridor, beautifying holy city

Taranjit Singh Sandhu, the BJP’s Lok Sabha candidate in Punjab’s Amritsar, who is making his electoral debut, has a plethora of ideas for making the holy city stand out in infrastructure development, generating employment, and furthering the harmonious environment.

Seeking blessings of the almighty, sharing views at brainstorming sessions on alternatives for agricultural development and sustainability, and above all revealing his vision for building Amritsar’s trade corridor and potential of international outreach are daily activities of the former diplomat.

Often accompanied by local party leaders, Sandhu, who says he has a family connection with this city, is meeting scores of morning walkers over a glass of fresh juice in the city’s park and public places.

On Thursday, the former Ambassador of India to the US said he had insightful and productive meetings in Ajnala and Attari, part of the Amritsar parliamentary constituency, where he highlighted his vision to bring in a special development package for revamping the border areas and work towards growth in education, agriculture, healthcare, and infrastructure sectors.

Businessmen, truckers, and potters hope to resume trade with Pakistan early through the Integrated Check Post (ICP).

Even the sitting Congress MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla and the Shiromani Akali Dal have demanded opening trade via the ICP.

Listening to the grievances of local traders, who want to resume trade with Pakistan, through the Integrated Check Post (ICP), Sandhu, that he would make efforts to revive trade through the Attari-Wagah border.

He also promised locals to bring in a special package for the holy city to beautify and clean it on the pattern of Indore city.

“Looking forward to working together towards our shared vision & building the ‘BRAND AMRITSAR’!” the BJP candidate said in the latest post on X.

Sandhu had met Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina, who was also at his residence here, and tried to pacify him.

At the India-US conclave on education and commerce in Amritsar on April 2, Sandhu, who superannuated after serving as the US Ambassador for nearly four years on January 31, spoke about empowering Amritsar startups and bringing investments through the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum and FICCI, maximizing income of farmers, commerce, industries and enhancing skilled education.

Interacting with the public at Company Bagh here, Sandhu said the city would be given a new look by 2027 when it would be ready for the 450th-anniversary celebrations of its inception by the fourth Sikh master Guru Ram Das.

“If the condition of Indore could be reversed and made a better city within a short span of six years, why can’t we do it here in Amritsar,” he was quoted as saying.

In a session with students from Khalsa College, Guru Nanak Dev University, and other colleges in Amritsar, the former diplomat discussed skills-based education, start-up potential, and his vision for Amritsar.

Sandhu, the second diplomat-turned-politician after Hardeep Puri, who had faced defeat from the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat in 2019 after Arun Jaitley’s debacle in 2014, has a rich family heritage. His grandfather Teja Singh Samundri was among the founders of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and 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.

At an interaction with farmers in Manawala village, Sandhu exchanged views on alternatives for agricultural development and sustainability where he attended Sri Akhand Paath Sahib.

Amritsar was represented by cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu from 2004 to 2014 when he was in the BJP. Sidhu is now in the Congress government.

Two-time chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh had won this seat by a margin of more than a lakh votes by defeating Jaitley. At that time he was in Congress and the SAD-BJP combine was in power in the state. He’s currently in the BJP.

Capt Amarinder Singh quit as the Amritsar MP before the Assembly polls in 2017 and Gurjeet Singh Aujla was fielded by the Congress for the by-election, which he won by over 1.97 lakh votes, defeating the BJP and Aam Aadmi Party candidates in a triangular fight.

Amritsar is a Sikh majority constituency with more than 60 percent voters. For the Amritsar seat, there are 1,676 polling stations and a total of 15,93,846 voters, including 8,36,966 men, 7,56,820 women, and 60 transgenders.

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 on four seats — two each for BJP and SAD. The AAP was restricted to just one seat.

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