Two hours before Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MP Sher Singh Ghubaya’s son and wife were to join the Congress in Delhi, a team of Vigilance Bureau (VB) led by a DSP raided his Jalalabad-based college to check “diversion of scholarships for SCs and BCs.” Ghubayas gave the Congress function a miss.
Ghubaya’s wife Krishna Rani and their son Devinder Singh Ghubaya were set to join the Congress formally at a function at Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh’s Delhi residence at 12:30 pm, but the duo did not turn up. Amarinder delayed the press conference by over 20 minutes as his team made desperate calls to Ghubayas, but to no avail. Amarinder told the media that Ghubayas joining Congress was a conjecture by the media itself. An embarrassed Congress was tight-lipped about Ghubaya throughout the day.
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Amarinder then inducted two other SAD MLAs, Rajwinder Kaur from Baghike and Maheshinder Singh from Nihal Singh Wala. Both were denied tickets by SAD.
Devinder, when contacted, said, “We are not going anywhere. We will continue to be with SAD. We are loyal soldiers of the party and my father has already said he would continue to be with the party till his last breath,” he said. Devinder denied any Vigilance action on his college. “No raid was conducted on our college.”
A senior officer of the Vigilance Bureau said, “DSP-VB, Muktsar, Makhan Singh visited Ghubaya College of Engineering and Technology (GCET) college at 10:30 am and stayed in the premises for an-hour-and-a-half. The officer said they had received a complaint against the college for diverting scholarships meant for S Cs and B Cs. We sent him to check the record and submit a report. We will receive the report soon.”
The officer said the action had nothing to do with the reports of Ghubaya’s family’s switching over to Congress. “We do not work like this. We act on complaints. We will get the report and see what is to be done next.”
The Ghubaya family is making it known they had asked for a ticket either from Jalalabad, a constituency represented by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, or Fazilka. Both the constituencies have a considerable population of Rai Sikhs and Ghubaya, being a Rai Sikh himself, has a strong influence on these voters. Their staking a claim on Jalalabad is a surprising move as it is a seat vacated by Ghubaya for Sukhbir in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls when Sukhbir entered state politics. Since then, Sukhbir has been contesting from there.
This time, AAP has fielded its crowd-puller MP Bhagwant Mann from Jalalabad. SAD, led by Sukhbir, is yet to make an announcement of candidate from Jalalabad.