Bansal Downplays Presence of Prominent Women in Fray

Bansal Downplays Presence of Prominent Women in Fray

Former Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal seeking re-election from Chandigarh today downplayed the presence of prominent women - former Miss India Gul Panag (AAP) and actor Kirron Kher (BJP) - in the fray, saying paratroopers cannot do some overnight magic.

"It is not really a question whether the candidates in the race are women or not. Well, I respect women, but let me say that election is fought on issues...," Bansal said after launching his election campaign here today.

"Celebrities have their own glamour, their own place in the society. But when it comes to real politics or even more, when you wish to represent a city or a constituency, it is not that you land (all of a sudden) and then so as to say I came, I saw and I conquered," he said.

Throwing statistics to show that Chandigarh traditionally has not been a happy hunting ground for women candidates, he said, "You got to have a long record, you have to know the people, their sentiments, their issues."

In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, Chandigarh had just one woman contestant. But this time around, besides AAP and BJP, BSP too has fielded a woman candidate.

Bansal also said he does not consider that elections are going to be easy. "I don't consider that election is easy. But I am hopeful that I will have a comfortable victory," he said.

When told that Aam Aadmi Party's Panag might woo the middle class and the common people, Bansal shot back and asked, "Who are we all, common people. They (AAP) have even stolen that (aam aadmi) name from the Congress."

He, however, said there were some good goals which the AAP had set out for.

"At the same time, I must acknowledge that they are out to cleanse politics, they are out to usher probity in public life. But there is more to it. Confidentiality and secrecy, what about that, these they have torn to smithereens, governments can't be run from a market place...," he said.

Dismissing any threat posed by AAP or BJP,the 65-year-old veteran politician said, "There is no threat from them. When you run a race, you only look at the post, you don't look back who is behind. Our target is to reach that post."

He admitted some promises which he had made to the people of Chandigarh remained to be fulfilled. He, however, said he would seek votes on development carried out in the city during his tenure.

BJP has fielded actor Kirron Kher (58) in Chandigarh, though former MP Satya Pal Jain, Chandigarh unit chief Sanjay Tandon and former Union minister Harmohan Dhawan were the front-runners for the seat.

Kher could face opposition from the faction-ridden BJP unit of Chandigarh. Party sources said that there was stiff opposition brewing in the Chandigarh BJP after Kher's name was announced.

AAP fielded Panag (35) after Savita Bhatti, wife of late satirist Jaspal Bhatti, opted out of the race. The BSP has fielded its woman councillor, Jannat Jahan (34).

Next Story : AAP Not a Factor at the National Level: Rahul
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