M A I N   N E W S

Punjab Polls 
13-member panel constituted
None from PMs family to contest
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
No one from the family of the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, will contest the coming Punjab Assembly elections as the All-India Congress Committee approved a 13-member Punjab State Election Committee.

The committee, approved on the recommendation of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, has besides him the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the Deputy Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, as its members.

Interestingly, the committee not only has the son, Mr Tej Parkash Singh, and daughter, Ms Gurkanwal Kaur, of the former Chief Minister, Mr Beant Singh, but also his loyalists like Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha and Mr Harnam Dass Johar. Mr Dullo himself has been from the erstwhile Beant Singh camp.

Other members are Mr Lal Singh, Dr Kewal Krishan, Mr Bal Mukand Sharma, Mr Sukhdev Singh Shahbazpuri, Mr Rajinder Rasrania and the Punjab Youth Congress chief, Mr Vijay Inder Singla.

The committee has maximum members from the Malwa followed by the Doaba. It gives negligible representation to the Majha where the party has done well in the last elections.

According to Mr Rajpal Singh, spokesman of the PPCC, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo himself confirmed from the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, that no member of his family was in the fray for the Punjab Assembly elections.

Only yesterday, the Chief Minister had confirmed at a press conference that a brother of the Prime Minister had met him to express his keenness to contest the elections from Amritsar.

It is the 13-member committee which at its first meeting on January 8 will start scrutinising all 912 applications received from various candidates staking claims for party tickets for the 117 Assembly seats. Among the applicants is Mr Harbans Kaur Dullo, wife of the PPCC chief, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo.

Though the Chief Minister was categorical in saying that his son, Mr Raninder Singh, is not in the fray from Rampura Phul, his brother, Mr Malwinder Singh, may be in the run for the Samana seat.



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