Sunil Jakhar, Punjab leader of a political dynasty who “does not come up in everyday conversations”

File photo of Congress leader Sunil Jakhar | Source: @SunilJakhar

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New Delhi: Former Punjabian Congress leader Sunil Jakhar is making headlines more today than when he led the state Congress for four years until last July or when he was head of the opposition to the last Assembly for five years.

Jakhar, 67, emerged as a dark horse as the chief ministerial candidate when Captain Amarinder Singh resigned, only to veto Navjot Sidhu, his successor to the well-maintained state congressional presidency. relations with the Gandhis. Without Sidhu’s objection, Jakhar would have been the state’s first Hindu CM since its reorganization in 1966.

HThis application was also rejected because some senior congressional leaders such as Ambika Soni were of the opinion that only a Sikh should be the chief minister of the state.

The Congressional High Command later offered him the post of Deputy CM, but he decreases because he saw it as a demotion for someone who led the party for five years.

Known for his outspokenness, Jakhar blasted AICC Punjab official Harish Rawat on Sunday for declaring that the next elections would be led by Sidhu.

The Jakhar explosion forced the AICC to hold a press conference on Monday and to clarify that Sidhu and the newly elected Chief Minister of Punjab, Charanjit Singh Channi, would be the faces of the party in the 2022 elections.

So what is it that gives Jakhar so much influence? It’s not just that he was an MP for three terms and an MP for one term before leading the state Congress.

Jakhar, known for having a “clean image”, gentle and polite manners towards all, comes from a rich political heritage. His father, Balram Jakhar was the longest portion spokesperson for Lok Sabha and also Union Minister under the Narasimha Rao government.

Read also : Congress received message in Punjab, but Gandhis and Sidhus cannot celebrate yet

“The Jakhars do not appear in everyday conversations”

Sunil Jakhar’s father, Balram Jakhar, was the Lok Sabha speaker from 1980 to 1989. Also a former governor of Madhya Pradesh, Balram was a loyalist to Indira Gandhi who also served as Minister of Agriculture in Narasimha Rao’s government from 1991 to 1996.

He had been elected as the MP for Lok Sabha from Sikar in Rajasthan in 1984, and was also elected from Bikaner in 1998.

Prior to his career in Lok Sabha, Balram, who was born in the Fazilka district which is now in the Punjab, was elected to the Punjab legislature in 1972.

This was possible, according to Ashutosh Kumar, professor of political science at the University of Punjab, because the previous candidates would change states and stand for election.

After Balram, two of his sons, Sajjan Kumar Jakhar and Sunil Jakhar, also joined politics. The elder Sajjan was a former minister of agriculture in Beant Singh’s regime, but lost his MP seat in 1997. He lost again in 2002 when Congress decided not to give tickets to those who were defeated in previous years.

Sajjan’s son Ajay Vir Jakhar was the chairman of the Punjab State Farmers Commission, a post he held in 2017 and which he held. resigned according to the change of guard in the state.

In a tweet, Ajay noted he resigned “because of changing circumstances in the state”.

Before being appointed chairman of the Punjab State Farmers Commission, he was chairman of the NGO Bharat Krishak Samaj, created by Balram Jakhar in 1955.

Balram Jakhar also had another son – Surinder – who was the chairman of Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) but who died in a freak accident while cleaning his gun on the farm in 2011. It was reported that he was shot in the head.

Detailing the lineage of the Jakhar family, Professor Ashutosh Kumar told ThePrint that the Jakhars are from Rajasthan, but just on the border with Punjab and are Jats Hindus, a small but significant population of the state.

“They are considered foreigners in the state because they don’t fit the Hindu mold (of being Baniya or Khatri) nor are they Sikhs. So in Punjab style politics, they don’t match, ”Kumar explained.

So what explains the popularity of Sunil Jakhar? Kumar attributes it to his “suave image” of being articulate, well behaved and “the darling of the media”.

The point of view is supported by Pampa Mukherjee, another professor of political science at the University of Punjab, who also claims that Sunil’s strengths are linked to his attitude.

She added, however, that the Jakhars are eclipsed by other political dynasties in the state. “Unlike other political dynasties in the state, such as the Badals and Amarinder which have a very strong presence, the Jakhars do not intervene in everyday conversations,” Mukherjee said.

Punjab Dynasties

The Jakhars are no match for the state’s other political dynasties. The main among them are the “Badals” of the Shiromani Akali Dal.

Patriarch Parkash Singh Badal was five times Chief Minister of Punjab and also Minister of Morarji Desai’s government at the Center.

Badal’s son, Sukhbir Singh Badal, had been the Punjab’s CM deputy from 2009 to 2017, while his wife, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, was Union Minister in the previous Modi cabinet before the SAD. where did he walkt from the NDA alliance last year.

In addition to the Badals, former CM captain Amarinder Singh come of a rich political heritage. Her father was the last “Maharaja of Patiala” while her older sister, Heminder Kaur, was married to former Foreign Minister K. Natwar Singh.

Amarinder’s wife, Preneet Kaur, is the member of the Parliament of Patiala and was Minister of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2009 to October 2012.

Among the others, Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa is the son of three-time MP Satnam Singh Bajwa, while new CM MP, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, is the son of Santokh Singh who was twice the leader of the Punjab Congress.

(Edited by Arun Prashanth)

Read also : Who are the Dalit Sikhs? The new Punjab CM Channi caste is just one of a complex hierarchy

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