Expelled Akali is keen to join Cong,contest from newly-created LS seat
Expelled Akali leader and outgoing MP from Ropar Sukhdev Singh Libra may throw a spanner in the works of former Punjab Congress chief Shamsher Singh Dullo in the newly-created Lok Sabha constituency of Fatehgarh Sahib (reserved).
While Dullo is a strong contender for the Congress ticket,Libra is also keen on joining the party and contest against his former party colleague and outgoing Deputy Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwalthe SAD nominee from the seat.
Libra,who was expelled from the Shiromani Akali Dal following his alleged support to the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government at the Centre during the no-confidence motion in Parliament in defiance of the partys whip,has held several parleys with senior Congress leaders in Punjab. While a section of the Punjab Congress is already lobbying hard for him,claiming that he can give a good fight to Atwal,the final decision now rests with Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Talking to The Indian Express,Libra said,I am keen to re-contest from Fatehgarh Sahib this time even as an independent. Not denying his keenness to join the Congress,he said,I have my options open. Some Congress leaders have been in touch with me. Lets hope for the best. Sources said Dullo has been Libras bete noire for long now both contested against each other from the Khanna assembly seat which now falls under Fatehgarh Sahib parliamentary constituency.
There is no looking back to the SAD that had thrown me out, he said. Former Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh has been one of Libras strong supporters and is known to be lobbying hard for his entry into the Congress fold.
Dullo had aired his discontentment openly,when he had said,The party should not grant ticket to turncoats. The Congress should stand behind those leaders who have stood behind the party through thick and thin.
Dullo has also expressed his desire to contest from Jalandhar or Hoshiarpur,where he feels he stands a better chance. Among others who are in the race for the Fatehgarh seat from Congress include Sadhu Singh Dharamsot,an MLA from Amloh; Satwant Singh Mohi,a member of Punjab Public Service Commission,and Rai Singh,a retired bureaucrat from Uttar Pradesh who hails from Sirhind.
Rai Singh had been the former chief secretary of UP when Mayawati first formed her government.
Fatehgarh Sahib segment has 12 lakh votes,with 6.3 lakh men and 5.7 women voters; about 28 per cent voters are Scheduled Caste.