War of words on between Rana & Cheema

Ticket trouble Senior Congress leaders also pitch in

War of words on between Rana & Cheema

Rana Gurjeet Singh (left) and Navtej Cheema

Deepkamal Kaur

Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, November 29

Post the recent move of Punjab minister and Kapurthala MLA Rana Gurjeet Singh to promote his son Rana Inder Partap Singh from Sultanpur Lodhi, the constituency currently represented by Congress MLA Navtej Cheema, a war of words has ensued between the two.

Rana Inder Partap Singh has been going from village to village since the past nearly two months and is now openly projecting himself as the ticket seeker from the party. His visits have been drawing him a good response, owing to which he has adopted a more aggressive posture and has intensified his campaign.

Clearly, this has led to sharp division in the local Congress leadership with some siding with the minister’s son and others going with the two-time MLA Cheema. In all this, Akali candidate Capt Harminder Singh seems to be getting an edge.

Notably, it is not just the local leadership, but also the senior party leaders who have begun taking sides. While CM Charanjit Singh Channi is reportedly more close to Rana, PPCC chief Navjot Sidhu and Deputy CM Sukhjinder Randhawa have been taking sides with Cheema.

Sidhu upon his visit to Sultanpur Lodhi gurdwaras on Guru Nanak gurpurab had said in favour of Cheema: “I will visit the town next time when Cheema will win from here and be inducted as the minister.”

Responding to Sidhu’s comments, Rana threw a challenge on him: “Sidhu can give ticket to Navtej Cheema because he has an authority being the party president, but he cannot make anyone win. In this case, if he gives ticket to Cheema then he must also guarantee his win. If Cheema wins, he can then make him minister or even Chief Minister. But Sidhu actually needs to get the ground report.”

Cheema, too, could not control his angst as he too jumped in the controversy. He said: “Before attacking me, Rana must get a reality check done on his own seat for his position had got weakened in the 2019 Parliamentary poll as his margin of 28,000 votes in Assembly poll had come down to just 7,000. The Congress, however, had consolidated its position in 2019 as the margin had increased from 8,000 to 18,000.” He even blamed Rana for trying to weaken the party in his seat and interfering in other seats too.

On Saturday, as Randhawa visited the town on an official visit, media quizzed him over the ongoing war and even the statements issued by Rana and Sidhu. In reply, he took sides with Cheema and said: “Rana should not ideally interfere in other constituencies.” 

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