Tribune news service
Patiala, December 8
The state Congress appears to have plunged deeper into crisis in Sanaur constituency with three leaders adamant on contesting the upcoming elections. Congress stalwart Lal Singh, former Information Commissioner Harinder Pal Singh Harry Mann and youth leader Mansimrat Riar have locked horns over Congress ticket from the seat.
After Lal Singh on Wednesday held a function at his government residence in Patiala to distribute cheques for development grants to panchayats in Sanaur, the daggers are out in the Congress.
Prominent Jat Sikh face in the Congress Harry Mann has declared that he would contest from Sanaur.
“It is my ‘karambhoomi’. I have worked hard to nurture the constituency for over six years now. Instead of addressing the concerns of workers at Samana, from where his son is an MLA, Lal Singh is interfering in my constituency,” said Mann, who lost the last elections from Sanaur to SAD candidate Harinderpal Singh Chandumajra but managed a 42,000 lead for the Congress during the 2019 LS polls.
In 2017, octogenarian Lal Singh lost his battle to then PCC chief Capt Amarinder Singh’s one-family-one-ticket diktat with the party deciding not to nominate him from Sanaur. His son Rajinder Singh was fielded from Samana segment from where he won. “If Lal Singh is given the ticket, it would open a pandora’s box for the party as many senior leaders want two or more tickets per family,” said a senior leader.
Interestingly, already three Congress MLAs — Hardyal Singh Kamboj (Rajpura), Madan Lal Jalalpur (Ghanaur) and Rajinder Singh (Samana) — are from the OBC category. All three are seeking re-election. The Congress has two reserved seats in Nabha and Shutrana, while minister Brahm Mohindra is seeking re-election from Patiala Rural. Only Sanaur and Patiala Urban are left, where Jats can be fielded, who constitute around 30 per cent of the total 14.85 lakh population of Patiala.
Harry Mann said there was no provision in the government that a person who is not even an MLA will hold a function to distribute cheques. “After being absent from Patiala from the past five years, this is sheer misuse of authority by Lal Singh who is merely the chairman of Punjab Mandi Board. I will report the developments to the Congress high command,” he stated.
Undeterred by the allegations of his interference, Lal Singh told The Tribune that he had every right to seek a ticket. “There is nothing wrong if I want to contest from Sanaur,” he said, adding that it is for the party high command to decide. “I have worked hard from almost a year in this constituency and we will work hard under PPCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu,” says youth congress leader from Sanaur Mansimrat Singh Riar. “Being a Jat Sikh, I feel that the Congress should do a balancing act and consider my candidature from Sanaur,” he said.
Eyeing assembly seat
Congress stalwart Lal Singh (L), former Information Commissioner Harinder Pal Singh Harry Mann (C) and youth leader Mansimrat Riar are eyeing the party ticket from Sanaur.
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