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Posted at: Jan 22, 2019, 6:59 AM; last updated: Jan 22, 2019, 2:37 PM (IST)

SAD top guns for LS polls, a Badal likely from Patiala

Party insiders say surprise for Gurdaspur seat too
SAD top guns for LS polls, a Badal likely from Patiala
MLAs Sharanjit Dhillon (L), PS Dhindsa may be fielded

Ruchika M Khanna
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, January 21

With several of its veterans having rebelled and resigned from the party, the Shiromani Akali Dal is learnt to be planning to field its top guns to take on the ruling Congress and other rivals in the General Election scheduled for April or May.

The SAD core committee, say sources, has already agreed to field bigwigs along with at least two sitting legislators. The strategy, they say, is to give the toughest possible fight to the Congress, which has witnessed several electoral successes after assuming power in Punjab.   

Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal says his party’s strategy is in place and they are ready to spring many a surprise. Party insiders say the decision to field the top leaders was taken following several rounds of pre-poll surveys. 

From Patiala, a constituency usually contested by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s wife Preneet Kaur, the SAD is likely to field a member from its first family. A similar strategy is in the works for Gurdaspur, represented by Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar.

SAD is also keen on playing its Panthic agenda to the hilt. It is likely to give the ticket from Khadoor Sahib to one of the faces who played a prominent role in the recent conviction of former Congress MP Sajjan Kumar in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case. 

As for the two sitting MLAs, SAD is learnt to have zeroed in on Parminder Singh Dhindsa (for Sangrur LS seat) and Sharanjit Singh Dhillon (Ludhiana). Both are said to be reluctant to contest, but party insiders say anyone whose name is decided will have little option but to throw his hat in the ring.

The Akali Dal is also reportedly trying to persuade its alliance partner BJP to swap at least the Jalandhar seat for Hoshiarpur. Of the 13 seats in Punjab, the SAD contests 10 and the BJP three.

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