Former Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader Sunil Kumar Jakhar stayed away from Punjab Vidhan Sabha on Monday where former Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni filed her nominations for the Rajya Sabha.
Jakhar was a strong contender for the post but was left dejected when the party high command renominated Ambika.
Jakhar’s close aides — Dera Baba Nanak MLA Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Raja Sansi MLA Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria — also stayed away from the nominations.
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Those present included general secretary in-charge Dr Shakeel Ahmad and his secretary, Harish Choudhary from Delhi.
Responding to a question on Jakhar’s rehabilitation, Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh said Ambika was Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s choice. “Jakhar will be given a suitable position in Delhi, where he would be able to look after his ailing wife,” he said in an indication that the former CLP leader could be inducted in AICC.
On whether he could not push for Jakhar, Amarinder said, “It was the discretion of the Congress president. She has chosen Ambika ji and the chapter is closed.”
Jakhar was ignored in March as well when former Congress presidents Partap Singh Bajwa and Shamsher Singh Dullo were nominated for Rajya Sabha. Jakhar had thereafter distanced himself from the party but came around when Amarinder and party strategist Prashant Kishor placated him.
‘Polls could be preponed’
PPCC chief Amarinder Singh said he had information that the Punjab polls could be preponed to December alongwith UP
as the Centre wanted these states to go to polls together.
He said several Akalis were in touch with him and would join Congress just before the election.