Updated: January 11, 2022 1:46:10 am
ACTOR Sonu Sood’s sister Malvika Sood Sachar joined the Congress Monday in the presence of Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and party state chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Soon after the press conference where the two Congress stalwarts welcomed Sachar into the party, its sitting Moga MLA Harjot Kamal indicated he was not happy over the big-banner entry. The only prominent Congress leader from Moga, in fact, who was present to welcome her at Monday’s event was former Mahila Congress chief Malti Thapar.
With the Soods having said earlier that the 38-year-old Sachar, a qualified engineer turned philanthropist, would like to serve their native Moga, Kamal said he would contest from the seat with or without a Congress ticket.
That the Congress is placing much stock in Sachar — whose brother Sood besides his Bollywood fame made a name for himself for his work for migrants during the Covid crisis — was clear from how Sidhu dropped in to meet the siblings at home before the press meet.
The Sood siblings run a charity in the memory of their late parents. It was in November last year that Sood had announced that Sachar was keen on entering Punjab politics. Soon after, she had launched a ‘Moge di dhee (Daughter of Moga)’ campaign.
While present for Sidhu’s visit, Sood skipped the formal entry of Sachar into the Congress. Asked if the party would give the Moga ticket to Sachar, Channi did not reply in a yes or no, only saying it was clear that she was the party’s choice.
Kamal too stayed away from the event, even as hundreds of his supporters and party workers held a demonstration in his support, and tried to make their way to the Sood residence to meet Sidhu and Channi.
Calling Sachar a “parachute candidate”, Kamal told The Indian Express that he had nurtured Moga even as the Congress was finished in the seat, and won in 2017 at a time when AAP had swept the rest of Malwa. “I defeated Makhan Singh Brar, the son of Akali Dal veteran Tota Singh. Why should I leave my constituency? Sarpanches of 46 villages, Mayor Nitika Bhalla, councillors and block samiti members are with me.”
Sidhu claimed Sachar’s joining would be a ‘game-changer’ for the Congress, and they were humbled by the association of the Soods with the party. “Malvika is an educated woman, a qualified engineer, and we will give this family as much respect as we can… We welcome her and thank Sonu Sood, the greatest philanthropist of our times… Malvika is a precious member of our family and we will keep her safe like a jewel,” he said.
Channi said Sood had made Moga and the entire Punjab proud with his acting skills and philanthropic works. “Such a family getting associated with our party is a matter of pride for us.”
Sachar said she chose the Congress as it was the oldest national party and because she was impressed with the work Channi had done as CM. “My parents always voted for the Congress.”
Sachar added that she was a social worker “and the Congress felt I was one of the best candidates for Moga”.
On Kamal’s opposition to her, Sachar said: “He is like my elder brother. We will meet and sort out differences. My brother had called him to attend my joining today.”
Channi expressed confidence that the differences would be resolved. “Harjot Kamal is an asset for us and a valuable member of our family. We will make adjustments as per requirement. I will go and meet him soon.”
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