Ludhiana, Punjab: Senior advocate HS Phoolka (58) is the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate from Ludhiana Parliamentary constituency. His name was announced today in the first list of the AAP candidates for the ensuing Lok Sabha poll. The candidature of Phoolka, who has spearheaded the cause of 1984 Sikh genocide victims, makes the Ludhiana Parliamentary poll a triangular contest, the other two contestants being Congress leader and Union Minister Manish Tewari (though Tewari has still not been formally announced as the Congress candidate) and the yet-to-be-announced Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidate.
According to observers, with Phoolka in the fray, the votes of urban Sikhs will, in all probability, see a divide. Phoolka as the AAP candidate from Ludhiana is an uneasy proposition for the SAD. The SAD that has professed to be the only party that gives political voice to the Sikh issues now has a formidable rival in the AAP’s Phoolka. It may be recalled that when the AAP government in Delhi decided to set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to reinvestigate the 1984 genocide, SAD supremo Parkash Singh Badal opposed the decision.
However, some observers also say Phoolka’s association with pro-Sikh issues may alienate a part of the electorate. Phoolka, while talking to The Tribune on the phone, slammed the observation as contradictory to facts. “I have, during my legal practice in the last 30 years, kept (Sikh) hardliners at an arm’s length. My fight is for human rights, irrespective of caste or religion. I have been taking up the cause of the poor and the underprivileged – be it the fight against trafficking of girls or collection of funds for the cyclone-hit in Orissa,” he said.
Phoolka, who belongs to Bhadaur village in Barnala, joined the AAP in January 2014. Delhi-based Phoolka has a Ludhiana connection. He graduated from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).
Reiterating the AAP’s ideological focus on decentralised democracy, Phoolka said he would work for “Swaraj” – the people’s rule in the people’s hand. “The ‘Right to Recall’ is very important for a democracy.” Listing out his priorities, he said he would fight against corruption and nepotism at every step.
On the prospects of his ‘winnability’ from the Ludhiana constituency, the AAP candidate said like Kejriwal, his focus is on changing the system. “If we, as political leaders, are able to change the system, it’s our win.”
Source: The Tribune