M A I N   N E W S

In Cong, leaders get their share
Amarinder, Ambika, Bhattal, Kaypee loyalists accommodated
Jangveer Singh/TNS

Chandigarh, January 6
The Congress high command has gone in for a balancing act by accommodating senior leaders and MP as well as allotting ticket on the basis of its own feedback, besides fielding young candidates on six seats difficult to win.

Pradesh Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh has been able to have his way on a majority of seats he wanted by stressing the winnability factor, but the high command has decided to experiment on some tickets, even changing seats at the last minute.

Though it first appeared that the scrutiny committee chaired by senior leader CP Joshi with Pradesh Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh, Congress Legislature Party Leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and party affairs incharge Gulchain Singh Charak would have the final say, it was not so.

The high command stepped in after Amarinder, Bhattal and Charak came up with their lists following representations by MPs as and senior leaders. Amarinder could not ensure the Sangrur ticket for his aide Arvind Khanna. He could also not override objections to fielding Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon, who defected from the People’s Party of Punjab, from Faridkot.

The high command also changed the candidature of Capt Amarinder’s son Raninder Singh from Patiala Rural to Samana. Earlier, Brahm Mohindra had been given the Samana seat. This change makes the Congress position strong on both seats as Mohindra was perceived a weak candidate from Samana. Alternately, the central election committee’s decision to shift Jasjit Randhawa to Dera Bassi has led to a rebellion by Deepinder Dhillon, who was seen as a favourite for the seat.

Capt Amarinder had his way with his entire list of supporters in Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Ropar, Sangrur and Bathinda districts getting the party ticket. Those especially adjusted on his insistance include Jasbir Dimpa from Amritsar South and Surinder Dawar from Ludhiana Central.

Sources said Ambika Soni managed the party ticket for her supporters in Anandpur Sahib and Hoshiarpur parliamentary constituencies. Bhattal has had limited success though she managed the ticket for her son-in-law Vikram Bajwa from Sahnewal. She also ensured a seat for Surinderpal Singh Sibia from Sangrur. However, her brother and sitting legislator Kuldeep Bhattal’s family was ignored.

The Congress MPs also had their say with most of them dictating the candidates in their constituencies. The MPs were able to get the ticket for their kin.

Kaypee secured the ticket for his wife Sunam from Jalandhar West, Partap Bajwa for wife Charanjit from Qadian, Santosh for her husband Ram Lobhaya from Sham Chaurasi.

The party has given only six seats to Youth Congress leaders on Rahul Gandhi’s recommendation.

All have been fielded from difficult seats and many from reserved seats. Senior youth leader Kuljit Nagra has been fielded from Fatehgarh Sahib, Lakhvir Lakhi from Payal (reserved), Amarinder Raja Warring from Gidderbaha, Shalinder Shelly from Majitha, Rajvinder Lucky from Balachaur and Satkar Kaur from Ferozepur Rural (reserved).

Youth Congress president Vikramjit Singh, who was a claimant from Adampur (reserved), lost out because the party had already decided to allot the seat to Satnam Singh Kainth as well as the fact that his father is also a contestant from Kartarpur (reserved).

The party has chosen to play it safe fielding only 12 women. They are the wives of two MPs, former PCC chief SS Dullo’s wife Harban Kaur Dullo from Bassi Pathana (SC), Karan Brar, daughter-in-law of former CM Harcharan Singh Brar from Muktsar, the wife of Joginder Singh Panjgrain from Jaitu (reserved), Guriqbal Kaur, wife of former MLA Parkash Singh from Nawanshahr, Simpreet Kaur Bhatia from Amritsar East and Aruna Chaudhary from Dinanagar (reserved).

Three MLAs — Bhattal from Lehragaga, Razia Sultana from Malerkotla and Harchand Kaur from Mehal Kalan — have been re-nominated. There is one youth Congress candidate in Satkar Kaur.





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