6 names doing rounds for Amritsar Lok Sabha ticket : The Tribune India

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6 names doing rounds for Amritsar Lok Sabha ticket

6 names doing rounds for Amritsar Lok Sabha ticket


Tribune News Service

GS Paul

Amritsar, February 26

With AAP not forging any alliance with the Congress in Punjab, the race is on for the Amritsar LS seat ticket.

Similarly, with no clarity over SAD’s alliance with the BJP, a couple of names started doing the rounds. While BJP-turncoat Anil Joshi’s name is coming on the top as the SAD probable, former diplomat Taranjit Singh Sandhu is being viewed as a top contender for the BJP.

Before formally joining the party, Sandhu has been gauging the nerve of holy city people. Today, he visited the border belt to meet farmers. Earlier, he had interactive sessions with entrepreneurs, doctors and students.

Having his roots in Amritsar, Sandhu also commands a Panthic background. His grandfather Teja Singh Samundri was a founder member of the SGPC and played a vital role in the Gurdwara Reform Movement. The SGPC headquarters in Amritsar was named after his grandfather in recognition of his service to the Panth.

BJP Amritsar president Harwinder Singh Sandhu said, “No communication about the candidature has been received so far from the party high command. As and when we get a call, certainly we will support the candidate.”

From the AAP side, big hoardings ‘Lok Sabha Halka, Sri Amritsar Sahib’ and slogans such as ‘AAP ka Saath, AAP ka Vikas, AAP ki Sarkar’ dot Amritsar.

Separately, some hoardings stating ‘Mission 2024’ for ‘Lok Sabha Halka Amritsar’, too have emerged from local AAP aspirants with slogans as ‘Punjab Banega Hero.. Is Vaar 13-0’.

The first Sikh Mayor of Amritsar Karamjit Singh Rintu, who switched over from the Congress to AAP ahead of the 2022 Assembly poll, appears to be the front runner in the race.

“I am now inclined to represent Amritsar in the Lok Sabha. I am in touch with the top AAP leadership and have expressed desire for the ticket. Rest, the party will take the final call,” he said.

In 2012, Rintu had unsuccessfully contested the assembly elections against the then BJP leader, Anil Joshi. In the subsequent assembly elections, he was denied the ticket, yet the Congress had then compensated him with the Amritsar Mayor seat in 2018.

Nonetheless, Rintu had managed to convince a large number of Congress councillors to come to the AAP fold.

Another name that is hovering around is of Cabinet Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal.

“So far, neither my party has indicated that I will contest the Lok Sabha elections, nor did I approach anyone for the same. Rest assured, I am a loyal ‘sipahi’ (soldier). If the party orders me, I would have no hassles in its compliance,” he said, while reminding that he had earlier contested the 2019 Lok Sabha poll when AAP had a negligible base and polled around 20,000 votes only.

On the other hand, friction surfaces in the Congress camp between local MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla and OP Soni, if the recent confrontation between supporters of both sides in the presence of Punjab Congress affairs in-charge Devendra Yadav is anything to go by.

Aujla said, “I have been raising the Amritsar issues in Parliament. I have contested the 2017 bypolls and 2019 poll from Amritsar. There could be no valid reason to deny me ticket this time too”.

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