WITH SAD almost clear about its choice for Derabassi Assembly constituency, Congress has decided to reach out to dissidents and take them along.
The party will have to finalise its candidate from among five contenders. The five — Deepinder Singh Dhilllon, Jaspal Singh Sarpanch, Amit Bawa, Manpreet Singh and Kuljeet Randhawa — are considered to be a good choice against the probable SAD candidate, N K Sharma.
District Congress president and Mohali MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu brokered peace between Dhillon and Sarpanch on Thursday. Both leaders, who had differences in the past, also met state Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh and told him that they would strengthen the party.
Dhillon is close to the Patiala royal family and he contested the 2012 elections as an Independent when the Congress gave the ticket to Jasjeet Singh Randhawa. Dhillon polled over 50,000 votes and lost narrowly to SAD’s N K Sharma. Later, he joined SAD due to his family’s proximity to Bikram Singh Majithia and unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Lok Sabha election against his mentor and former Union minister Parneet Kaur. Both, however, lost to AAP’s Dharamvir Gandhi. He again joined the Congress about two years ago.
Amit Bawa, the youngest of the aspirants, could be the choice of the Youth Congress. Sarpanch, also considered close to the Patiala royal family, is a local leader and a good organiser.
Party insiders said he cannot be ignored. Even Kuljeet Randhawa is said to be a strong candidate; but he has yet to make a mark in the constituency.
When contacted, Dhillon said they will follow the party’s directions, adding that though there might be differences among the aspirants, the party high command has instructed them to approach all the dissidents.
Balbir Singh Sidhu said that last time they lost in Derabassi it was due due to dissidence. But, this time, they are
confident and have started reaching out to the local leaders.