Punjab Express Bureau
Chandigar, April 11:
Overruling the PCC President Sunil Jakhar, the Congress high command today accepted Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s recommendations for the Anandpur Sahib and Sangrur parliamentary constituencies, while keeping the nominations for Ferozepur and Bathinda on hold.
While senior party leader and the national spokesperson Manish Tewari has been nominated from Anandpur Sahib, Kewal Dhillon has got the ticket from Sangrur, following the strong case put up by the Chief Minister in their favour.
The party high command saw reason in Capt Amarinder’s argument that the party needed to field a prominent Hindu face from Anandpur Sahib despite opposition from Jakhar, who wanted the seat to be allotted to some Sikh candidate.
By fielding Tewari, the party appears to have weighed the Hindu factor which is crucial in this election. Besides, the party has seen its rise with the massive support from the Hindu community, particularly in 2017 elections. Therefore, It can ill afford to ignore the community in the forthcoming parliamentary elections.
Similarly, it was Capt Amarinder’s will that prevailed in Sangrur where his close confidante Kewal Dhillon was allotted the ticket against the arguments that it was essentially a Hindu/Bania seat. Except in 2009, Sangrur has always been represented by a Sikh candidate.
Meanwhile, the party appears to have kept the opposition, Shiromani Akali Dal, guessing over the nominations for Bathinda and Ferozepur. The SAD, in all likelihood, will field Ms Harsimrat Kaur Badal from Bathinda, while there have been hints that Sukhbir Singh Badal may himself contest from Ferozepur.
The Congress is keen to give a tough fight to the Akalis in their pocket borough. This is the reason that the party has kept the announcement of the candidates in these two constituencies on hold.
While both the constituencies have traditionally been Akali strongholds for last several elections, this time the SAD appears to be wary about Bathinda in particular owing to the anti-incumbency against Ms Badal, besides the resentment against the family over the incidents of sacrilege and police firing that left two persons dead.
With Congress keeping them guessing, the Akalis seem to be getting wary and apprehensive since they cannot play the mind game for long. The Akalis have been trapped in their own (mind) game with the Congress, which in all probability will make it tough for the first (Akali) family, by fielding the strongest possible candidates in both these constituencies.