With a dossier on candidates facing protests, Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh met AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi in Delhi on Tuesday seeking review of a few seats announced in the second list. Party general secretary in-charge of Punjab Asha Kumari accompanied him. Sources said the duo took along a dossier on four candidates, two from Malwa and two from Majha, who have been facing protests ever since their tickets have been announced.
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The party lost a Congress veteran and ex-MLA Surinder Singh Sibia to Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) as soon as Sunam ticket was given to Daman Kaur Bajwa. He was given SAD ticket from Barnala. The party is of the view that it has been weakened in Sangrur district after Sibia’s exit, denial of ticket to former Chief Minister Surjit Singh Barnala’s family and not shifting former CM Rajinder Kaur Bhattal’s constituency despite her requests. Hence, Amarinder has gone with the argument that it was in party’s favour to review a few seats.
In Sunam, Amarinder was in favour of nominating Surjeet Singh Dhiman, who was given the party ticket from Amargarh constituency. He was a strong contender from Sunam and had even vent out his ire on Facebook soon after his ticket was announced. He had announced on FB he would not contest. Later, Amarinder had to placate him with an assurance that he would take up his case with Rahul.
Sources said the party leaders also discussed the remaining 40 seats. Amarinder has been pushing for several Akali leaders who were taken into the party fold recently. AICC president Sonia Gandhi had in an earlier Central Election Committee of Congress directed that Congressmen should be given priority in the list.
The issue of cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu was also on the agenda in today’s meeting. Sidhu is yet to join Congress and it is not yet clear what role he would be given in the party. Amarinder, it is learnt, sought a clarity on his status. A meeting between Amarinder and Sidhu is scheduled in the coming days.
Amarinder persuades Pargat
With a strong contender of ticket in ex-MLA from Jalandhar (Cantt) Jagbir Singh Brar, Amarinder is learnt to have persuaded Pargat Singh, who quit SAD to join Congress recently, to contest from Nakodar. Pargat Singh was elected from Jalandhar (Cantt) in 2012 and has been staking a claim on the constituency. Amarinder met Pargat Singh in Chandigarh on Monday evening. Sources said Pargat Singh’s surveys were better in other constituencies. Also, he would face opposition from Brar, who is not going to sit quiet if denied the ticket.