Congress legislator from Amloh, Randeep Singh Nabha, Thursday formally staked claim to party’s Lok Sabha ticket from Patiala, the hometown of Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh. The CM’s wife, Preneet Kaur, is a three-time former MP from the constituency and has already applied for the party ticket for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
“I have permission from the top (party leadership) to apply for the ticket. It is a democratic party. I have every right to ask for it,” said Nabha. A four-time MLA from Amloha, Nabha had come close to Amarinder ahead of the Assembly elections. He has miffed with the CM after being ignored in the Cabinet expansion last year.
Asked whether he considered himself a better candidate than Preneet Kaur, Nabha did not give a straight answer. “Let us see. I have worked a lot in the constituency,” he said.
Meanwhile, Punjab health minister Brahm Mohindra’s son, Mohit Mohindra, staked claim to the party ticket from Bathinda. The health minister is a sitting MLA from Patiala (rural) and is known for nurturing his constituency. His son is seeking to make a debut.
Congress’s sitting MPs from the state have already applied for the ticket, with Ravneet Bittu seeking it from Ludhiana, Sunil Jakhar from Gurdaspur, GS Aujla from Amritsar and Chaudhary Santokh Singh from Hoshiarpur. Chaudhary Santokh has a strong competition in former MP Santosh Chaudhary.
Meanwhile, Punjab health services corporation chairman Amardeep Singh Cheema, sources said, could apply for a ticket from Gurdaspur.
Sports Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi has staked claim from Ferozepur. He is the only minister to have staked a claim to a Lok Sabha ticket so far.
So far seven MLAs have applied for the ticket. They include: Sukhpal Singh Bhullar and Kulbir Singh Zira (Khadoor Sahib), Dr Raj Kumar Chabbewal and Pawan Adya (Hoshiarpur), Rakesh Pandey (Ludhiana), and Satkar Kaur (Faridkot).
Earlier, Punjab Congress general secretary Pawan Dewan had formally staked claim for the party ticket to contest from Ludhiana in the Lok Sabha polls. “I have been associated with the Congress party for past 30 years. I have served the party in various capacities. I was block president, president of the district youth Congress and then district unit president (from Ludhiana). Now, I am general secretary of the Punjab Congress,” Dewan said after submitting his application.
Party spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill had staked claim for the party ticket to contest from Anandpur Sahib seat in Punjab. ]The Indian Ex-Servicemen League too sought the Congress ticket to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha polls from Ludhiana.
With the ‘Mission 13’ campaign, the Punjab Congress has already begun an exercise to find winnable candidates for the 13 Lok Sabha seats for the upcoming elections. The party on Thursday extended the last date of filing applications by a day. Till Wednesday, over 40 applications had been received and on Thursday the count trebled to 135.
Punjab has 13 Lok Sabha seats. Out of these, four seats each are held by the Akali Dal, AAP and the Congress while one by the BJP.
Former PM’s brother seeks Cong ticket
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s brother Surjit Singh Kohli Thursday applied for the Congress ticket to contest from Amritsar in the Lok Sabha polls. Kohli had remained away from active politics for a long time. On Thursday, he arrived at the Congress Bhawan in Chandigarh and formally applied for the party ticket from Amritsar.