Rebels rally to spoil candidates’ party
Sanjay Bumbroo & P.K. Jaiswar

They are rebels with a cause; and they have been campaigning without a pause. The fallout – sleepless nights to the official candidates of various parties who fear that the erosion of their vote base may just tilt the balance in favour of their rival.

The ‘rebel’ candidates, fighting the current poll as Independent candidates, bedevil both the Congress and the Akali Dal-BJP combine. Some of the prominent rebels who may spoil the party for the official nominees are:

Yoginder P. Dhingra

The former District Congress Committee president has considerable presence in Amritsar (North). Last time, too, he was a strong aspirant for the Congress ticket. But he was persuaded by the high command in favour of Mr Jugal Kishore Sharma, MLA, and Chairman, Improvement Trust.

This time, Mr Surinder Singla, Finance Minister, who came here to contest for the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, could not pacify him and he decided to throw his hat in the ring against Mr Sharma and the SAD-BJP candidate, Mr Anil Joshi. In fact, many consider a direct fight between Mr Dhingra and Mr Joshi will ensue, with Mr Sharma coming in at the third place.

The campaign launched by Mr Dhingra is bearing fruit as he is generating good support. Last time about 57,000 votes were polled in the constituency and Mr Sharma had defeated the then Health Minister and BJP candidate, Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, by a margin of 15,000 votes.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Chairman of the Improvement Trust is facing the anger of the supporters of Mr Dhingra and Ms Ratna, Chairperson, Punjab State Social Welfare Board, who had earlier supported Mr Sharma. 

Arun Mehra Pappal

A Congress dissident and Independent candidate from the Amritsar (Central) constituency, the smallest constituency with 68,353 voters, Mr Pappal is causing major problems to the Congress candidate, Prof Darbari Lal, and the state BJP vice-president, Ms Lakshmi Kanta Chawla.

Prof Darbari Lal had been in the poll fray since 1977 and in the last 30 years of his political career he has won five times, while Ms Chawla has won twice.

The wife of Mr Pappal is a municipal councilor and could therefore dent the vote bank of Prof Darbari Lal.

Last time, the total number of votes polled was about 44,000 and Prof Lal defeated Ms Chawla by a margin of only about 6,000 votes.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Pappal said his main thrust would be to establishing an indoor and outdoor hospital.

Raghbir Singh

A SAD rebel, who had been aspiring for the party ticket from the Rajasansi area, has been campaigning against the SAD supremo, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and his son, Mr Sukhbir Badal, for promoting the family interests and misusing Guru ki Goluk.

Mr Raghbir Singh, who is also a secretary of the SGPC, had formed the Majha Akali Dal and later merged with the SAD (New) headed by Mr Ravinder Singh. Mr Raghbir Singh says his main agenda is to initiate steps for stopping the misuse of SGPC funds by vested interests. With his jumping into the election arena, the contest for Mr Lopoke has become tough as he is facing the Congress candidate, Mr Sukhjinder Singh Sarkaria. Mr Lopoke had won the last elections with a small margin of 3,000 votes. Cont from page 1

Surinder Arjun

Mr Surinder Arjun, a former president of the Durgiana Management Committee and candidate of the BSP and the CPI, launched his campaign by riding a bicycle.

He promises the voters, especially traders, he would fight to get their genuine demands accepted. Accusing the politicians of forgetting their voters after the elections, Mr Arjun says he would serve them throughout his five-year term.

Rajinder Kumar

Mr Rajinder Kumar, a Congress rebel, is contesting the elections from Chheharta on the Nationalist Congress Party ticket. Amritsar (West) is the largest constituency with voter strength of 2.32 lakh. It was once a throbbing industrial area of the Holy City and has been the hub of communists. Communist veterans Satya Pal Dang and Vimla Dang have represented the constituency in the Vidhan Sabha. However, Mr Om Parkash Soni won the elections twice as an Independent when he was not allotted the Congress ticket due to opposition from Mr R.L. Bhatia.

Mr Sunil Datti, Mayor, was also in the fray for the Congress ticket from here and his supporters had lodged a protest over the denial of ticket to him. Moreover, with the entry of Mr Rajinder Mohan Chhina, a Jat Sikh and honorary secretary of the Khalsa College Managing Committee, in the fray as the BJP candidate the contest has become a four-cornered one. The SAD-BJP has never won an election from this constituency in the last three decades.

Mr Amarjit Singh Asal, a CPI candidate, is another strong candidate from this area. According to observers, Mr Datti may support Mr Rajinder Kumar indirectly because of hiss rivalry with Mr Soni. In the last elections, Mr Soni had bagged 45,331 votes against his nearest rival of the CPI, Mr Amarjit Singh Asal, who had secured 21,791 votes. The National Congress Party candidate, Mr Rajinder Singh, got 21,340 votes.

Jagteshwar Singh

Mr Jagteshwar Singh, another SAD rebel candidate in the Majitha constituency, is considered a threat to the SAD official candidate, Mr Bikramjit Singh Majithia, brother-in-law of Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Mr Jagteshwar has been protesting against Mr Bikramjit as “he is an outsider and has been imposed on the voters by the party high command to promoter their family interests in the area.”

Supporters of Mr Jagteshwar allege that the high command was ignoring the family of the late Parkash Singh Majithia, who was number two in Mr Badal’s party.

Parkash Singh Majitha was the grandfather of Mr Jagteshwar who died in a road accident a few years back.

In the previous election, Mr Sawinder Singh Kathunangal, Congress, had won by 2,500 votes against Mr Rajmohinder Singh Majitha, SAD.

Harinder Singh Randhawa Honey

Harinder Singh Randhawa Honey, a Taksali worker who had worked for the SAD at the grassroot level promoting the interests of the party by taking up the cause of the people of the constituency, has been protesting against Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala, MP, who is ‘promoting’ his son Boney Ajnala.

Honey has been assuring the voters that if he won he would support Mr Badal.

He said that he is not against party supremo but against Dr Ajnala who is promoting his family and is not interested in the development of the area.

In the last election, Mr Ajnala had defeated Dr Rattan Singh by 39,000 votes. 



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