The Shiromani Akali Dal Saturday named former cabinet minister Mahesinder Singh Grewal as part candidate from from the Ludhiana Lok Sabha constituency.
With this, the SAD has announced eight of its 10 candidates from Punjab. Its alliance partner the BJP is contesting from the other three seats — Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur.
Harcharan Bains, advisor to SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, said the names of the remaining candidates would be announced shortly.
Grewal remained a cabinet minister in 1997-2002 SAD government and currently is the senior vice-president of the Akali Dal. Though SAD’s Ludhiana unit suggested fielding a young candidate, the party chose the 62-year-old leader who has a strong Panthic image and enjoys a wide secular base.
Grewal thrice contested the Vidhan Sabha polls. He was elected on the Akali Dal ticket 1997 from Ludhiana West and was named medical education minister in the Parkash Singh Badal cabinet. In 2002, he joined the Tohra group of the SAD following a split in the parent party and contested from the same seat, but lost. In 2007, he returned to the parent party and unsuccessfully contested from Payal constituency in Ludhiana. He to Congress’s Tej Parkash Singh, the son of former chief minister Beant Singh.
He did not contest the 2012 and 2017 assembly polls and remained advisor to CM. His name was doing the rounds for Ludhiana along with that of SAD’s district president Ranjit Dhillon among others.
Dhillon said, “I was also one of the candidate, but I will be walking along with the candidate and will support him in the entire campaign.
The SAD is yet to announce candidates for Bathinda and Ferozepur seats for which names of Harsimrat Badal and Sukhbir Badal, respectively, are doing the rounds.
The Akali Dal had fielded former MLA Manpreet Singh Ayali from Ludhiana in 2014. He c ame in third behind Congress’ Ravneet Bittu, who won the election, defeating nearest rival AAP’s HS Phoolka. AAP is yet to announce its candidate this year while Congress has renominated Bittu. The Lok Insaaf Party has fielded Simartjit Singh Bains.