Patiala constituency: SAD’s pick may emerge as dark horse in Congress bastion : The Tribune India

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Patiala constituency: SAD’s pick may emerge as dark horse in Congress bastion

Patiala constituency: SAD’s pick may emerge as dark horse in Congress bastion

NK Sharma starts campaign after paying obeisance at a gurdwara. Tribune photo



Tribune News Service

Aman Sood

Patiala, April 14

Barring the Congress, which is fighting an intense battle with many candidates vying for the ticket, prominent parties have named their candidates for the Patiala seat.

Considered to be the Congress stronghold, the equations have changed with the exit of Capt Amarinder Singh and his family from the Congress into the BJP. Preneet Kaur has won the Patiala seat, barring 2014 when AAP’s Dr Dharamvira Gandhi defeated her.

A four-way contest is on the cards for the first time in Patiala which usually saw the Congress taking on the SAD-BJP and AAP. On Saturday, two-time SAD MLA Narinder K Sharma was named SAD candidate from Patiala while the BSP announced Jagjit Chharbarh as its candidate, adding spice to the already close-knit Patiala Lok Sabha contest.

Preneet Kaur addresses a gathering on Sunday. Tribune photo

In the 2019 poll, Congress candidate Preneet Kaur, who won the election by more than 1.5 lakh votes, failed to make a dent in SAD’s bastion of Dera Bassi where she trailed behind SAD’s Rakhra by over 17,000 votes. Kaur bagged 70,883 votes from the Dera Bassi Assembly segment while Rakhra got 87,993 votes.

Eyeing leads in Dera Bassi and the Hindu vote bank, two-time SAD MLA NK Sharma has been named as the SAD candidate from Patiala.

Mohali realtor Sharma will take on the BJP’s former MP Preneet Kaur, AAP’s Dr Balbir Singh. The Congress has declared the name of former MP Dr Dharamvira Gandhi as its candidate.

Sharma, who has remained a MLA from Dera Bassi, enjoys a good support base there and with the SAD cadre in Patiala being united to ensure his victory, he could emerge as the dark horse eager to make a debut in the Lok Sabha.

Preneet Kaur is facing farmers’ wrath who are protesting against the party in Punjab. The traditional local BJP cadre too feels ignored as the Congress leader is the face of the BJP.

Fissures in the Congress have already come to the fore ever since the party high command inducted former MP Dr Dharamvira Gandhi into the party fold.

Several local leaders, including two former MLAs and halqa in-charges, have openly voiced their dissent, claiming that the leadership “should have trusted” its own leaders and “not fielded turncoats”.

For the past few days, such leaders have held many meetings in different Vidhan Sabha constituencies to get first-hand feedback from Congress supporters and also told the state Congress leadership to consider “only Congress leaders” for ticket.

Those leading the bandwagon against Gandhi are former MLAs Hardyal Singh Kamboj, Madan Lal Jalalpur and Rajinder Singh, besides halqa in-charges Vishnu Sharma from Patiala and Darbara Singh from Shutrana.

“Now with the Congress fielding Dharamvira Gandhi, they will be left with no option but to back the SAD or the BJP leaders”, said a top Congress leader.

Factors favouring SAD

  • Narinder Sharma, former MLA from Dera Bassi, enjoys a good support base there and SAD cadre is united to ensure his victory
  • BJP candidate Preneet Kaur faces the farmers wrath who are protesting against the party in Punjab
  • Fissures in the Congress have already come to the fore ever since the party high command inducted former MP Dr Dharamvira Gandhi into the party fold
  • Anti-incumbency, one of the major factors in Punjab, could play a spoilsport for AAP candidate Dr Balbir Singh, who also happens to be a Cabinet Minister

About The Author

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.

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