How Pargat Singh Came From Behind to Defeat Surinder Singh Sodhi in Electoral Battle of Hockey Stalwarts

Pargat Singh has mounted many comebacks on the hockey pitch over his highly decorated 13-year international career – the stalwart is famously remembered for orchestrating India’s superb comeback 5-5 draw against Germany at the 1985 Champions Trophy at Perth, when his side was trailing 1-5 midway through the second half. The ace former fullback brought his comeback skills to the fore in the political pitch, winning the Jallandhar Cantonment constituency in the Punjab assembly elections.

Read Three Ex-Hockey Captains Throw Their Hat in Punjab Assembly Election Ring

Interestingly, Pargat – the only player to lead the national side at the Olympics twice (in 1992 and 1996) was up against a stern challenge thrown by another former India captain and 1980 Moscow Olympics star forward Surinder Singh Sodhi, who was contesting on an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). It was Pargat Singh who was trailing for the early part of the day as Surinder Singh Sodhi, who was the top goal-scorer at the 1980 Moscow Olympics with 15 goals and also scored a brace in India’s 4-3 win over Spain in the final, appeared to have a headstart. But Pargat had the last laugh, defeating Surinder by a margin of 5,845 votes – Pargat polled 40507 votes while Surinder polled 34,662 votes.

Read 1985 Champions Trophy: India’s Sensational Fightback Against Germany

Pargat’s electoral triumph is remarkable given the fact that his party – Congress were handed a crushing defeat – this is the third consecutive time Pargat won from the Jallandhar Cantonment constituency after winning it earlier in 2012 and 2017 respectively. Another hockey stalwart Ajit Pal Singh was slated to contest from the Nakodar constituency on a newly-floated Punjab Lok Congress (PLC) ticket – a party formed by former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. But the former India centre-half had to withdraw as he did not fulfill the requirment of having a vote in the state.