LS Polls 2024 -Meet Sanjay Tandon, the BJP candidate who is contesting elections from Chandigarh

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His father, Late Sh. Balramji Das Tandon was a veteran of Indian politics, an old-timer in BJP, and Deputy CM of Punjab in 1969. He passed away in 2018 when he was a sitting Governor of Chhattisgarh (India). Sanjay Tandon (son of Balramji Das Tandon) has been the president of BJP Chandigarh for ten years (2010-2019) and is contesting the 2024 Lok Sabha election from Chandigarh on a BJP ticket (succeeding actor Kirron Kher, who won twice from the same constituency to become a Member of Parliament). 

A series of inspirational story books, ‘Sunrays’, written by Sanjay and his wife Priya S Tandon, has enjoyed popularity and has forewords from eminent personalities, including his father and father-in-law- the former Chief Justice of India, Late Sh. Madan Mohan Punchhi. 

Here is an interesting conversation between BJP leader- Sanjay Tandon and TLJ Magazine Chief Consulting Editor- Dr Neha Miglani. 

Your father would be a proud man today. What do you have to say about this? 

It is an extremely emotional time for me. Despite being a senior leader, my father never propped or pushed me to take up positions in the party. He used to tell me to continue my work in politics as a service or seva and keep moving forward. That is why I continued my work in the last two Lok Sabha elections, in which Kirron Kher got the ticket. I was the Party President on both occasions. But it did not affect my work considering that another person had got a ticket since the training I got from my father was such. And yes, he would have been a proud man if he was alive, to see me doing good work.

What is your target for the city if you win the elections?

I want to become the voice of the people of Chandigarh people in a better and more productive way. A smooth and more result-oriented coordination between the city and central government will ensure that pending issues get resolved faster. 

Congress fielded a seemingly strong and clean candidate from Chandigarh- Manish Tewari, for the LS elections. Does it make your fight more challenging?

It makes my fight easier since he does not stay here. The people in this city feel that they need someone who lives here, and they are ‘vocal for local’. They have long been waiting for someone from their city who understands their issues better and gets them addressed. Manish has been contesting elections from different constituencies- Ludhiana, Anandpur Sahib, and now in 2024 from Chandigarh. There has to be a reason for shifting constituencies each time. All this makes my journey easier. 

Your contribution to Chandigarh in sports has been unique. From not having any distinct identification to fielding players from the city now in various sports. Should Chandigarh’s independent identity also be reflected in other areas?

Earlier, any sportsperson from Chandigarh had to play on behalf of either Haryana or Punjab. An Olympic winner hailing from any state in India used to get Rs 6 crore if they won, but this was not the case for Chandigarh players. We fought a case for three years in the Supreme Court and won the case. Due to these efforts, Chandigarh sportspersons are now at par with players from other states regarding the honorarium they get. 

Kapil Dev, for instance, was from Chandigarh and had to play cricket from Haryana. Similarly, Yuvraj Singh was an excellent cricketer but had to play from Punjab since there was no identity for players from Chandigarh. Now, this will not be the case, and it is an excellent move for the sports community of Chandigarh. 

Issues in Chandigarh will also be addressed more proactively once the coordination between the city and the Centre becomes easier and faster. 

How will you address the anti-incumbency factor in Chandigarh, which is sure to be there in any state where a candidate of a party has been elected twice before?

Anti-incumbency is usually for a candidate and not for a party. During her tenure, Kirron Kher has done her best for the city, but due to her health reasons, she told the party leadership not to consider her for a ticket, although she was fit to contest even a third time from here. I will take the work done by her for the city forward and ensure matters are smoothly coordinated. 

Your wife, Priya S Tandon, has strongly supported you and acts as a perfect content, costume, and literary advisor for you. What do you both say about this?

Priya: He (Sanjay) has been very consistent in his service to the people of Chandigarh. For instance, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we thought of contributing to the city constructively, so he along with Bharat Vikas Parishad ran a 50-bed COVID Centre. We also made short videos of the Sunrays stories and shared them on social media.

Sanjay: Priya had done a course in tailoring during her younger days. Hence, during COVID, she started preparing masks, and eventually, we mobilized the local tailors to stitch them for us. We made the tailors sit in our car (since we had the permitted sticker on our car during lockdown days); they opened their shops to collect sewing machines to stitch the masks. The tailors could earn while they worked from home. We distributed 1lakh cloth masks. The motive was to help the people of the city in whatever way possible. 

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