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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Anxiety in Cong ranks over remaining 4 nominees


Anxiety in Cong ranks over remaining 4 nominees

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 10

Anxiety is growing in state Congress ranks over lack of representation to Hindus in the ticket allocation so far. Of the nine nominees declared by the party leadership in Punjab, the only Hindu candidate is state unit chief Sunil Jakhar.

With former minister Ambika Soni opting out of the fray and state minister Vijay Inder Singla also not keen, it remains to be seen how the Congress will offer representation to three Hindu candidates in 13 parliamentary segments as has been the practice lately.

Former minister Manish Tewari’s candidature from Anandpur Sahib continues to be unclear amid reports that Congress president Rahul Gandhi will take a call on the seat.

It is learnt that Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu has sought nomination for wife Navjot Kaur who was denied ticket for Chandigarh. Sources indicate that she could be considered only from Amritsar or Anandpur Sahib.

In Amritsar, the Congress has already named sitting MP Gurjit Aujla as its candidate. With Navjot Kaur still in contention, the race for tickets has heated up further.

Some clarity on these issues is expected tomorrow when the party’s central election committee meets under the chairmanship of Rahul Gandhi. The pending nominations are: Anandpur Sahib, Bathinda, Sangrur and Ferozepur.

Sources say though Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh is backing former MLA Kewal Dhillon from Sangrur, Rahul is yet to give any indication on this matter. He would also have to consider the factor of Hindu representation in ticket distribution.

In two previous elections, the Congress had given tickets to three Hindu faces — Ambika Soni, Jakhar and Singla — in the 2014 LS polls.

The party could reduce the Hindu representation to two this time.

Party strategists have so far been conscious of the need to represent various communities, which was why the party fielded Mohd Sadiq, a Mazhabi Sikh from Faridkot.

“If the party can consider a Mazhabi Sikh from Faridkot to ensure adequate representation to all sections, how can they ignore the larger section of Hindus in the state?” a senior leader asked.

It is learnt that the Indian Youth Congress has recommended the names of state youth Congress chief Amarpreet Lally and Yadvindra Singh Kang for Anandpur Sahib and Health Minister Brahm Mohindra’s son Mohit Mohindra from Bathinda. Mohit is Punjab Youth Congress general secretary incharge of Bathinda segment. Former national president of IYC Raja Warring has also expressed a desire to contest from either Bathinda or Ferozepur. The CEC will take a final call tomorrow.

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