Punjab poll 2022: Congress dilemma in Patiala continues, list delayed

Lal Singh, Brahm Mohindra, Vishnu Sharma remain in contention for Patiala; party also in a fix in Nawanshahr and Barnala

Punjab poll 2022: Congress dilemma in Patiala continues, list delayed

Lal Singh, Senior Congress leader and Capt Amarinder Singh, PLC chief

Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 27

The Congress’s dilemma in key seats of Patiala, Nawashahr, Barnala and Khemkaran continued on Thursday with the announcement of eight pending candidates for the February 20 Punjab elections delayed yet again.

Top AICC sources said former minister Lal Singh, senior minister Brahm Mohindra and former Patiala mayor Vishnu Sharma continued to be on the panel of probable candidates for Patiala which former chief minister Amarinder Singh currently represents.

Although Lal Singh and Mohindra were seen as suitable candidates in the segment, the party has to decide whether to bend the one family one ticket rule for this “unique seat”.

Sons of both Lal Singh and Mohindra have already been fielded. While Mohit Mohindra has been named from Patiala Rural (Brahm Mohindra’s current seat), Lal Singh’s son Rajinder Singh, the sitting MLA from Samana, has been re-nominated.

Asked whether the party has not already bent this rule by fielding both former CM Rajinder Bhattal and her son-in-law Vikram Bajwa, sources said, “You cannot penalise someone for marrying into a political family. Vikram Bajwa has his own politics and could not have been denied a ticket just because he married the former CM’s daughter. Fielding father and son is different from fielding mother-in-law and son-in-law.”

AICC in charge Punjab Harish Chaudhary and screening panel chairman Ajay Maken will again meet tomorrow to take the call on whether to relax the ‘one family one ticket’ rule for Patiala and the list is likely to be released on Friday.

“If the rule is bent for Patiala no one will mind. It is a unique seat,” a source said, adding that there was a growing input to field a Hindu face from Patiala and these factors were still under discussion.

Earlier, the Congress has denied tickets to two members from one family. CM Charanjit Channi’s brother was seeking a nomination from Bassi Pathana but the sitting MLA was named; minister Tript Bajwa wanted a ticket for his son as did minister Rana Gurjeet.

In Barnala, the party remains divided between fielding former MLA Kewal Dhillon and ex Union minister Pawan Bansal’s son with sources saying Bansal’s son had the backing of Punjab’s top industrial houses while Dhillon had an edge with local organisational support. “These issues are being discussed,” said party sources.

In Nawanshahr, the Congress has to decide whether to field a fresh face instead of sitting MLA Angad Saini, whose wife Aditi Singh, Rae Bareli MLA, recently joined the BJP challenging the Gandhis.

“The party is considering whether to field Angad Saini’s mother or opt for a new face,” a source said, indicating Angad Saini could be dropped.

In Khemkaran, the dilemma lingers on whether to rename sitting MLA Sukhpal Bhullar who is being opposed by Punjab Congress campaign in charge Sunil Jakhar and in Attari, sitting MLA Tarsem DC has massive anti-incumbency.

Other pending seats are Ludhiana South, Jalalabad and Bhadaur.

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