Amarinder’s brother leads list of Punjab Congress rebels

January 7th, 2012 - 2:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Chandigarh, Jan 7 (IANS) Though the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine as well as the opposition Congress are facing party rebels in many constituencies for Punjab’s Jan 30 assembly polls, the most significant rebellion is by the brother of state Congress chief Amarinder Singh.

Malwinder Singh, Amarinder Singh’s brother, has come out openly against the Congress giving poll ticket for the Samana assembly constituency in Patiala district to his nephew, Raninder Singh. Malwinder has threatened to contest as an Independent from the same constituency, but said he has kept his options open.

Raninder figures in the party’s official list of candidates. He is the son of Amarinder Singh, himself a former chief minister, and wife Preneet Kaur, who is the union Minister of State for External Affairs and the Lok Sabha member from Patiala.

“I am very upset with the allotment of ticket to Raninder. I will contest as an Independent candidate from Samana even though I am keeping my options open. The party has done great injustice to me despite working for the party interests. I will not go back on my decision,” Malwinder Singh, who also belongs to the erstwhile Patiala royal family like his elder brother, said here Saturday.

Though his brother is the state Congress president, Malwinder is not blaming him for the denial of ticket for the polls.

“I don’t think that he (Amarinder) had a role in this. My ‘bhabhi’ (sister-in-law) is the one responsible for this situation. I had spoken to her last week but she was adamant to get the Congress ticket for Raninder,” an upset Malwinder Singh said.

Malwinder also blamed Gulchain Singh Charak, who is in charge of the Congress affairs in Punjab, for the denial of the poll ticket to him.

“This man (Charak) has no standing in Jammu from where he comes and has no political understanding (of Punjab). He contested an election in Jammu once and even lost his security deposit. Such people have been put in charge of Congress affairs in Punjab,” he said.

The Congress is facing rebels at least for three dozen of the 117 assembly seats in the state.

Former parliamentary secretary Hans Raj Josan has decided to contest from the Jalalabad seat as an Independent against Akali Dal president and Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. The Congress has allotted the ticket here to Malkiat Singh.

The ruling Akali Dal-BJP combine too is facing strong rebels in many constituencies.

Former minister Mohan Lal of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is opposing the candidature of state BJP president Ashwini Sharma from Pathankot. Mohal Lal has been denied the ticket here despite being the sitting legislator.

Akali Dal general secretary Prem Singh Chandumajra is facing a strong rebel in sitting Sirhind legislator Didar Singh Bhatti from the Fatehgarh Sahib assembly constituency. Bhatti quit the Akali Dal last week to join the Peoples Party of Punjab (PPP) after being denied the Akali Dal ticket.

The Akali Dal had to expel Balwinder Singh Bains, the announced candidate for the Ludhiana south seat, and his brother Simranjit Singh Bains from the party after the latter turned a rebel on being denied the Akali Dal ticket for the Atam Nagar seat. The Akalis had allotted the ticket to minister Hira Singh Gabria.

The Akali Dal, contesting 94 seats, and the BJP (23 are also facing rebels in at least 30 seats.

(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at jaideep.s@ians.in)

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