September 5, 2021 5:31:18 am
Shiromani Akali Dal’s senior leader Sikander Singh Maluka Saturday said he will contest the 2022 Assembly election from Rampura Phul, six days after he announced to leave the constituency in Bathinda district for his son.
Maluka announced this soon after party chief Sukhbir Singh Badal hosted him and his son, Gurpreet Singh Maluka, for lunch. Sukhbir also appointed Gurpreet as the party’s general secretary.
The Akali Dal on August 29 had named Maluka as party’s candidate from Rampura Phul, but minutes later the former minister announced that he will not contest from the seat and instead his son who had been nurturing the constituency for more than two years will fight the election. “I wanted to contest from Maur as I had been working in that constituency for more than a year,” he had then said.
However, the party on September 1 announced senior leader Jagmeet Singh Brar’s candidature from Maur Assembly seat.
To pacify a sulking Maluka, several party leaders, including former minister Bikram Singh Majithia, had reached out to him. The former minister even stayed away from the Akali Dal’s emergency core-committee meeting on Friday to discuss ongoing protests by farmers against the party leaders, especially against Sukhbir who eventually announced had to put on hold for six days the poll outreach campaign ‘Gal Punjab Di’. Maluka, who is the head of the SAD farmer wing, was the first Akali leader to have spoken against the three contentious central farm laws at a time when its senior leadership was supporting the legislations.
On Saturday, Maluka said, “Party’s interests are always above the personal interests. Though Maur’s public wanted me to contest from that constituency but, I accept the decision of party and I am ready to contest from Rampura Phul as decided”.
It will be Maluka’s sixth election from the Rampura Phul. He won the elections twice.
“SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal reiterated that Sikandar S Maluka will himself contest from Rampura Phul assembly constituency. He also appointed his son Gurpreet Singh Maluka as Gen Secretary of the party,” senior SAD leader Daljit Singh Cheema said in a tweet.
Gurpreet had remained Bathinda Zila Parishad chairman during previous SAD-BJP government. Assembly elections in Punjab are due in early 2022.
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