M A I N   N E W S

Amarinder’s brother exits Congress to join SAD
Naveen S Garewal/TNS

Chandigarh, January 7
Malwinder Singh, the younger brother of Capt Amarinder Singh, today bid farewell to the Congress and joined the Shiromani Akali Dal after being denied the party ticket from Samana.

Welcoming him into the SAD fold, beaming party president Sukhbir Singh Badal took potshots at the Congress, “The move is going to work like an atom bomb and ruin the dreams of the Congress of coming to power.”

Malwinder said he was joining the SAD unconditionally but would not contest the election. He would, however, canvass against the Congress in the state.

Malwinder’s switch-over has come as a big setback for the Congress and is, perhaps, aimed more at causing a dramatic effect than denting the Congress vote bank. Though the move by Sukhbir to make Malwinder cross over to his party speaks highly of Sukhbir’s ability as a political fighter, Malwinder’s exit from the Congress will not mean much in practical terms as he is considered a political lightweight.

The Samana seat that was denied to Malwinder has been given to Capt Amarinder Singh’s son, Raninder Singh. The SAD has already fielded Surjit Singh Rakhra on this seat.

The political scene in Punjab after the announcement of the Assembly elections has seen some unexpected events. First, the People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) suffered a big jolt when its founding members quit to join the Congress.

Then, SAD patron Parkash Singh Badal agreed to be pitched against his brother in Lambi.

Now, Malwinder, a classmate of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and a friend of AICC president Sonia Gandhi, has switched sides. Without naming the persons responsible for denying him a ticket, Malwinder announced that he was ending his 35-year-old association with the Congress as “the party is no longer what it used to be.

The entire value system in the Congress has changed”.

He, however, made it clear that he would not speak against his brother or any person, but would oppose the Congress and support the SAD.

Malwinder had been allotted the Samana ticket in 2007, but he claimed that he withdrew from the contest on the assurance that he would get the Patiala seat in 2011. However, after the delimitation process, he opted to reclaim Samana.

Malwinder has claimed that after he left the Army in 1975, he had been nurturing Samana and Chatrana constituencies. But he has been denied the party ticket repeatedly due to opposition from vested interests.

“I was a candidate for Samana before Raninder. His candidature was filled by his mother (Preneet Kaur) later,” he said without elaborating further.

“I am not contesting from anywhere. I am not here to look for a seat but I am here (SAD) on the issue of principles. I will campaign for the SAD and do it in favour of the SAD candidate in Samana too”.

Politically speaking, the exit of Malwinder from the Congress to join the SAD will cause lesser damage to the Congress than if he had decided to contest from Samana as an Independent.





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |