Punjab: For SAD, it’s all in the family & friends

Kin of Badals, party MPs and ministers crowd the list of candidates

Written by Navjeevan Gopal | Chandigarh | Published:November 27, 2016 4:18 am
Punjab elections, Punjab polls, Punjab assembly elections 2017, Bikram Singh Majithia, Majithia, Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal, Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Akali, Akali MPS, SAD, SAD tickets, Punjab news, india news, indian express news Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal (Left), Parminder Singh Dhindsa (Centre) and Bikram Singh Majithia.

Sons of sitting and former Akali MPs, son of Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker, brother-in-law of SAD president and son-in-law of the chief minister will be all there to contest 2017 Assembly polls on SAD tickets with dynastic politics on full display in the upcoming polls.

State’s Food and Civil Supplies Minister Adaish Partap Singh Kairon, who is son-in-law of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, would contest from Patti from where he won in 2012 by a tiny margin of 59 votes (by polling 64,414 votes) against Congress nominee Harminder Singh Gill (64,355) votes.

However, slender victory margins has not deterred SAD from fielding again such candidates.

Sitting SAD MLA from Ajnala Amarpal Singh “Bonny” Ajnala, son of Akali veteran and former Lok Sabha MP Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala, is in the race again for the same seat. In 2012, he had won merely by 1,235 votes (by polling 55,864 votes) against Congress candidate Harpartap Singh Ajnala (54,629 votes).

State’s Finance Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa, who is the son of Akali stalwart and Rajya Sabha member Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, would contest from Lehra this time instead of Sunam, from where he has won the last two Assembly polls, albeit with dwindling victory margins. In 2007, Dhindsa defeated his nearest rival of Congress Aman Arora by 10,000 votes. In 2012, he won by 5,000 votes.

The only exception is Bikram Singh Majithia, who went on to increase his lead by winning his seat by more than 23,000 votes in 2007 and by over 47,000 votes in 2012, defeated his nearest rival Sukhjinder

Raj Singh Lalli Majithia who contested the 2007 polls on a Congress ticket and as Independent in 2012 after the Congress fielded Shalinderjit Singh.

In an oblique reference and a sort of admission of promoting dynastic politics, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had last year remarked in Amritsar that the Majithia family was “enjoying maximum benefits of power”.

Addressing the 108th annual convocation of Khalsa College in Amritsar and turning to Sukhbir Badal’s father-in-law and Khalsa College Governing Council president Satyajit Singh Majithia, who sought funds for the college, Badal had said, “I have already given you the maximum”.

Badal said Satyajit Singh Majithia was the only man in the country whose son (Bikram Singh Majithia) was a minister in the state, daughter (Harsimrat Kaur Badal) was a minister in the union cabinet and son-in-law (Sukhbir Badal) was deputy chief minister of the state.

Majithia had termed the CM’s remarks as made in “lighter vein”.

Dilraj Singh Bhunder, son of Rajya Sabha MP and senior Akali leader, has been picked by SAD to contest again from Sardulgarh, which he lost to Congress’s Ajit Inder Singh Mofar in 2012 by 2,732 votes.

Khadoor Sahib legislator Ravinder Singh Brahampura, son of Lok Sabha MP and another Akali veteran Ranjit Singh Brahampura who is very close to Badal, would contest the 2017 polls for the same seat, which he won in a bypoll earlier this year.

Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal, son of Vidhan Sabha Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal, will be SAD candidate from Raikot. He is an ex-MLA and testing the political waters again.

A new dynastic face who will make his political debut this time is Harinderpal Singh Chandumajra, who is the son Prem Singh Chandumajra, Akali MP in Lok Sabha from Anandpur Sahib. Harinderpal will contest from Sanour Assembly segment in Patiala district.