BJP leader Manoranjan Kalia holds a road show after he got the ticket from the Jalandhar (Central) constituency on Monday. Tribune Photo Malkiat Singh 17 Jan 2017 | 11:22 AM
JALANDHAR: Ending the month-long speculation over the candidature of former Cabinet minister and MLA Manoranjan Kalia from Jalandhar (Central) and Punjab cabinet minister Bhagat Chunni Lal’s son Mohinder Bhagat from Jalandhar (West), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today approved their names to contest the 2017 assembly elections.[ + read story ]
Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, January 16
Ending the month-long speculation over the candidature of former Cabinet minister and MLA Manoranjan Kalia from Jalandhar (Central) and Punjab cabinet minister Bhagat Chunni Lal’s son Mohinder Bhagat from Jalandhar (West), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today approved their names to contest the 2017 assembly elections.
Celebrations erupted at Bhagat’s residence after his name was announced as the party candidate from Jalandhar West constituency. Supporters gathered around his house with sweets and crackers. Bhagat was given ticket as his father Bhagat Chunni Lal had crossed 75 years of age and could not contest polls as per the new election rules framed by the BJP.
Even Manoranjan Kalia was accorded a rosy welcome by his supporters after he landed at Rama Mandi from Delhi. His supporters carried out a rally from there to his residence and burst crackers and distributed sweets on the way.
Both the leaders were facing stiff opposition by their own party leaders and the tussle increased to a new level during the election time. The recent tiff was reported at BJP state chief Vijay Sampla’s rath yatra where a section of the party workers reportedly snatched the mike from Mohinder Bhagat. He was not even allowed to speak till the rath yatra moved around in his constituency.
Though BJP SC Morcha general secretary and party councillor Sheetal Angural and Punjab BJP chief Vijay Sampla’s nephew Robin Sampla too were in the fray and tried to get the ticket from the west area, Mohinder Bhagat’s candidature has come as a huge setback for them.
Bhagat who was already facing an anti-incumbency wave in his constituency due to prolonged delay in the completion of the four-laning project of National Highway 703-A in his area has invited the wrath of industrialists. Also, the dwindling sports industry business in his area has angered the sports goods manufacturers. His close aide Rajiv Dhingra also lost the MC elections to Congress candidate Kamlesh Grover from ward number 49 two years back.
Kalia’s candidature was also mired in controversy after his name was linked to drug dealers and also for providing shelter to the murderers of Khalsa College student Manpreet Singh who was killed in broad daylight by some people with sharp weapons.
Various leaders of the opposition and his own party leaders have posted pictures of his public meetings on Facebook and other social media websites where he was shown standing next to alleged drug dealers of his area.
Being a senior party leader, he served as a cabinet minister in the SAD-BJP coalition government. Kalia was not given any important post recently due to immense factionalism in the party. His candidature for the assembly polls and his known proximity to Sampla is expected to give a fresh lease of life to his political career.