Tuesday, December 25, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

5 ministers not in SAD first list
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today released the first list of 43 candidates for the next Assembly elections. The list, primarily, is a renomination of the sitting MLAs and ministers. But as many as five ministers do not figure in the list — Mr Ranjit Singh Ballian, Mr Gobind Singh Kanjla, Mrs Mohinder Kaur Josh, Mr Sohan Singh Thandal and Mr Jagir Singh Bhullar, Chief Parliamentary Secretary.

There is one noticeable change in respect of Morinda. With Mr Ravi Inder Singh having changed loyalty, he has been replaced by Mr Ujjagar Singh Badali. The new candidate from Nathana (Reserved) is Mr Gurditta Singh Tungwali. He fills in the slot following the death of the sitting MLA Mr Balbir Singh.

The speculation is that the party President has reservations on the renomination of MLAs and ministers in several other constituencies in each district. And, of course, there are constituencies which the BJP has to contest. There are also constituencies that were contested by SAD’s own men, who later joined hands with Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, whose party is the nucleus of the Panthic Morcha. It remains to be seen how many of those seats go to the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) or to the SAD. It is also speculated that by not announcing any candidate for such seats, the SAD President is still keeping the unity option open. The second list is expected shortly. SAD had contested 95 seats in 1997. It remains to be seen how many seats it contests in the poll early next year.

SAD has taken a lead over other political parties in the state, though, the Congress has announced that all its sitting 14 MLAs would be renominated. This has created a rumpus in the party with former MLA Mr Nirmal Singh Mahant having gone to the court protesting over the renomination of sitting MLAs. The court has summoned the Congress leadership on January 9. Mr Nirmal Singh’s plea was that those who lost the 1997 poll should be considered. He termed the inviting of applications along with a fee of Rs 5,000 from aspirants a “farce”. He has petitioned even Mrs Sonia Gandhi on this issue. There are reports that a score of other such ex-MLAs of the Congress were likely to take legal course for having been denied the ticket. Mr Nirmal Singh had contested from Raikot. He had won in 1992. His allegation was that a Congressman who was expelled for six years and had helped the SAD in by-elections to the Vidhan Sabha had been considered for the Raikot seat.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal walked on his own strength with the help of a walker to occupy his seat in the back verandah of his official residence for the press conference.

On the sharing of seats with the BJP or forging alliances with other parties, Mr Badal said: “Any one determined to defeat the Congress was welcome. We will give him or her due respect and even offer a ticket to contest the election”. A four-member committee has already been formed to explore alliance partners. Regarding the BJP he said there was no bargaining. “I have spoken to the President, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, to expedite his party candidates”. Such candidates would be selected who are time-tested, whose faith and loyalty to the party has been unflinching and who have served the Panth with dedication. Some of the candidates who lost in 1997 also figure in the list.

Youth would be given their due share. But when asked about women, he said there could be no quota in such matters. “We have already nominated two in Kapurthala, Bibi Jagir Kaur and Mrs Upinderjit Kaur”. On the former he also said there was no legal bar on her contesting the election.

Mr Badal also announced the elevation of Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal as Vice-President of SAD. He earlier headed the SAD youth wing. The new youth wing President is Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, while Mr Nadharak Singh Brar, again of the youth wing, has been nominated a member of the SAD Working Committee. Mr Kirpal Singh from Amritsar is the new party Adviser.

Asked why his (Mr Badal) name was not among the candidates in Muktsar district, he commented, “So that I can tell others who do not figure in the list that I am also not there”.

Answering more questions, Mr Badal said he was not aware of any circular against the Sikhs in UP and said he would talk to the UP Chief Minister. The circular reportedly includes the Sikhs, who are to be kept under surveillance. After a pause he added, “One who believes in terrorism is not a Sikh. You can say that in Sikh religion killing of innocent people is wrong.”

The following SAD candidates figure in the first list:

AMRITSAR: Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura Naushera Panuan, Mr Adesh Partap Singh Kairon Patti, Mr Gulzar Singh Ranike, Attar (R), Dr Rattan Singh, Ajnala, Mr Vir Singh Lopoke, Raja Sansi.

GURDASPUR: Mr Natha Singh Dalam Qadian, Mr Nirmal Singh Kahlon Fatehgarh Churian, Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan Kahnuwan, Mr Sucha Singh Langah Dhariwal.

KAPURTHALA: Bibi Jagir Kaur Bholath, Mr Raghbir Singh Kapurthala, Dr Upinderjit Kaur Sultanpur.

JALANDHAR: Mr Ajit Singh Kohar Lohian, Mr Sarwan Singh Phillaur Phillaur (R).

HOSHIARPUR: Chaudhary Balbir Singh Tanda.

NAWANSHAHR: Chaudhary Nand Lal Balachaur.

LUDHIANA: Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal Kum Kalan (R), Mr Ranjit Singh Talwandi Raikot, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha Qila Raipur, Mr Kirpal Singh Khirnia Samrala.

MOGA: Mr Tota Singh Moga.

FEROZEPUR: Mr Janmeja Singh Sekhon Ferozepur Cantonment, Mr Paramjit Singh Guru Har Sahai, Mr Sher Singh Jalalabad.

FARIDKOT: Mr Gurdev Singh Badal Panjgarain (R), Mr Mantar Singh Brar Kotkapura.

MUKTSAR: Bhai Harnirpal Singh Muktsar, Mr Manpreet Singh Badal Gidderbaha, Mr Sujan Singh Malout (R).

BATHINDA: Mr Charanji Lal Garg Bathinda, Mr Sikandar Singh Maulka Rampura Phul, Mr Gurditta Singh Tungwali Nathana (R).

SANGRUR: Mr Balbir Singh Bhadur Bhadur (R), Mr Parminder Singh Dhindsa Sunam, Mr Gobind Singh Longoiwal Dhanula, Mr Baldev Singh Mann Dirba.

PATIALA: Capt. Kanwaljit Singh Banur, Raja Narinder Singh Nabha, Mr Ajaib Singh Mukmailpur Ghanaur.

ROPAR: Ms Satwant Kaur Sandhu Chamkaur Sahib (R), Mr Tara Singh Ladal Anandpur Sahib, Mr Ujjagar Singh Badali Morinda.


Twice-losers not to get Cong ticket
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 24
The Congress has drawn up guidelines to shortlist candidates for the forthcoming elections in Punjab. The criteria, which would result in a lot of new faces getting the party ticket, has been conveyed to members of the state election committee by Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

According to the guidelines drawn, candidates who had lost the 1999 Lok Sabha poll would “not ordinarily be considered for party ticket.” The guidelines say candidates who had lost two consecutive poll prior to 2002 and those who had lost security deposit in 1997 should not be considered.

No ticket would be given to MLAs in whose area Congress lost by more than 10,000 votes in 1998 and 1999 Lok Sabha poll unless their defeat was caused by extraordinary circumstances. “Each case will be carefully scrutinised,” the guidelines say.

Explaining that candidature of only those aspirants should be considered who reside in constituency or at least in the district concerned, the guidelines stipulate avoiding ticket to relatives unless they deserve it on their own standing and no other suitable candidate is available.

“Those indicted by Lokayukta and any commission of inquiry, those convicted in any offence involving moral turpitude, those who have a criminal background and those who are facing trial in a court of law should not be given tickets,” the guidelines say.

Though age has not been made a yardstick to reject candidature, the party has decided to give priority, wherever possible, to the youth, women and persons from minority community and weaker sections in selection of candidates. The guidelines also call for discouraging relatives of senior leaders from contesting except in cases where they have known standing. The guidelines were finalised by the Congress President in consultation with senior party leaders.

The state election committee, which recently interviewed the ticket aspirants for two days, is likely to meet on December 29 to draw a panel of names against each seat. The names would then be sent to the central screening committee before the list is finally approved by the Congress central election committee.

The guidelines evolved by the Congress high command would considerably ease the work of Punjab state election committee which had to shortlist candidates for the 117 Assembly seats from among the nearly 1050 applications. Back

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