PUNJAB DEPUTY Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal started damage control exercise on Wednesday following a revolt against Sarabjit Singh Makkar, the SAD candidate at Jalandhar Cantonment Assembly constituency. To pacify the rebels, Sukhbir met them and offered the chairmanship of Jalandhar Improvement Trust (JIT) to rebel leader Paramjit Singh Raipur, besides elevation in the party.
All the local leaders, led by Raipur, a member of Ahiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee, and district SAD (Urban) president Gucharan Singh Channi, were opposed to the candidature of Makkar, who had contested from Kapurthala in 2012 and lost to the Congress.
After Raipur’s meeting with the people of the constituency, who asked him to contest independently, on Sunday, the deputy CM rushed to Jalandhar on Wednesday. Sukhbir went to the residence of Raipur, who wanted a ticket for his NRI brother Jaspal Singh Dhesi, at Raipur village and after a closed-door meeting with the brothers, he announced the appointment of Raipur as JIT chairman in the presence of some 100 people of the constituency who had come to Raipur’s place to meet the Deputy CM. He also announced the elevation of Raipur as the vice-president of SAD. Sukhbir, however, is yet to meet Channi. Though invited by Raipur to his place, he refused to meet the deputy CM as the latter had not called him himself.
Sukhbir will stay back in Jalandhar tonight to pacify the rebels.