The Punjab Information Commissioner Harinder Pal Singh Mann resigned on Friday and is likely to join the Congress on February 8. Popularly known as Harry Mann in political circles, the Information Commissioner had been handpicked by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and appointed as the state information commissioner on February 14, 2012. He was to retire next year. He had also been appointed as SAD vice president when Sukhbir was elected as party president for the first time.
Harry, (58), is likely to be considered for the Congress ticket from Samana constituency since the party does not have a claimant there after Jagtar Singh Rajla quit to join AAP. During the last Assembly elections, Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh’s son, Raninder Singh, had unsuccessfully contested from Samana as the former’s brother, Malwinder Singh, was a strong contender for the ticket. This time Amarinder has made it clear that only one member from his family would be contesting the elections.
Talking to the Indian Express, Harry said, “I want to be in the active politics and I will certainly be joining a political party and contesting from Samana. I am yet to decide about which party I would be joining,” he said. Harry is former Punjab Congress chief, Partap Singh Bajwa’s classmate from PPS Nabha School and also a close associate. Before joining SAD, he was the general secretary of the Punjab Youth Congress between 1980 and 1985, appointed by late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi when Partap Singh Bajwa was the PYC president. He had quit Congress because he was never given a ticket and revolted in 2012. Sources said Bajwa was instrumental in bringing him back to the Congress. He facilitated his meeting with Amarinder, party general secretary incharge, Dr Shakeel Ahmad and campaign committee president, Ambika Soni, in Qadian when he organised a luncheon for Amarinder a few days ago. Later, he met Amarinder’s MLA wife Preneet Kaur also.
Harry Mann served as the president of District Congress Committee, Patiala Rural, between 1995 and 1997 when late Beant Singh was the Chief Minister of Punjab. He was appointed chairman of the Kisan Cell of the PCC by Capt Amarinder Singh in 1998.