INDIA VOTES 2024: SAD’s first list of seven candidates out : The Tribune India

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INDIA VOTES 2024: SAD’s first list of seven candidates out

Iqbal Singh Jhunda to contest from Sangrur ; betrayal says ex-MP Dhindsa

INDIA VOTES 2024: SAD’s first list of seven candidates out


Tribune News Service

Jupinderjit Singh

Chandigarh, April 13

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today announced seven candidates for the Lok Sabha elections in the state with a big surprise by ignoring the claims of ex-MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa’s family from Sangrur constituency.

The party has instead fielded Badal family loyalist Iqbal Singh Jhunda from Sangrur. As per the list, Cheema will contest from Gurdaspur, while former MP Prem Singh Chandumajra has been fielded from Anandpur Sahib. Cheema was also a contender from Anandpur Sahib and was campaigning aggressively.

Former Dera Bassi MLA NK Sharma has been fielded from Patiala, while former minister Anil Joshi will contest from Amritsar. From Fatehgarh Sahib, the party has fielded Bikramjit Singh Khalsa, while Rajwinder Singh, grandson of Gurdev Singh Badal, will contest from Faridkot.

Dhindsa, who is in New Delhi, today termed Jhunda’s announcement as a shocking betrayal. He was not taken into confidence before finalising Jhunda’s candidature.

“I don’t know what to say. This is a rude shock, a betrayal. We were not told about this change of mind for the Sangrur seat,” said Dhindsa to The Tribune on the phone. On his next course of action, he said he would think about it but he could surely say he was not inclined to join any other party at this juncture.

On March 5, SAD president Sukhbir Badal had visited Dhindsa’s home here, asking him to rejoin the party as its patron. Dhindsa had left the party in early 2020 over issues with the leadership and party’s working. Later, he had formed his own party SAD (Sanyukt).

Sukhbir had told mediapersons that after the death of his father (ex-CM and party patriarch Parkash Singh Badal) Dhindsa was the senior-most and the party would work by taking guidance from him.

Since then, it seemed clear that Parminder Singh Dhindsa would contest from Sangrur. The family was even meeting people and had started campaigning. SAD (A) president Simranjit Singh Mann is the sitting MP from Sangrur. He is also contesting again.

Jhunda is the president of the party’s Sangrur unit and also headed a committee of party leaders formed after the 2022 Assembly elections debacle to study and recommend reforms in the party. Members of the committee claimed that they had recommended change in leadership, thereby meaning taking the party’s control away from the Badal family, but Jhunda’s report didn’t mention this.

Earlier, taking to X, senior party leader and former minister Daljit Singh Cheema said SAD chief Sukhbir Badal had announced a list of seven senior leaders of the party as candidates for the parliamentary elections.

“Choosing the historic and pious occasion of ‘Khalsa sirjana divas’ as the most suited day to sound the poll bugle, the first list of candidates has been released,” he said in the post. Five candidates are Sikhs while two are Hindus in the first list.

Though Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s name did not figure in the first list, sources said her candidature from Bathinda seat was a foregone conclusion. She was the first Akali candidate to start campaigning weeks before anyone else. However, as Khadoor Sahib seat candidate is still undecided and her name didn’t figure in the list, speculation started that she might shift to Khadoor Sahib seat.

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The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#Lok Sabha #Sangrur #Shiromani Akali Dal #Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa


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