Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi speaks to the media in New Delhi. AP Photo/Pankaj Nangia
Only two of the total six candidates selected by the Congress on the strong recommendation of AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi could post a victory while two lost by narrow margins in the Punjab assembly polls.
While Kuljit Singh Nagra (45), a former student union activist defeated his formidable Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) rival Prem Singh Chandumajra from Fategarh Sahib, Amarinder Singh Raja Warring snatched victory from none other than senior Akali leader Sant Singh Brar from Gidderbaha constituency.
People’s Party of Punjab president Manpreet Singh Badal, who won the seat for the last four times, also contested from the Gidderbaha seat and only managed a third place.
Rahul picked up the only woman candidate Satkar Kaur (30) for the Ferozepur (rural) reserve constituency. However, she lost to Joginder Singh alias Jindu of the SAD by merely 107 votes.
Lakhvir Singh Lakha (33), who was put in the fray for the Payal reserve seat, however, managed to give a tough fight to senior Akali leader and former Lok Sabha deputy speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal and lost by merely 634 votes.
Rajwinder Singh Lucky (32) came a third on the the Balachaur reserve seat. Shailenderjit Singh Shelly (36) was shortlisted for the Majitha seat to take on SAD general secretary and sitting MLA Bikram Singh Majithia, who is also the brother-in-law of SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal. Shelly also failed to make an impact. Unlike the Lok Sabha polls in 2009 when Rahul Gandhi handpicked all three candidates from political families, this time all were from humble and non-political backgrounds.
All six worked in close co-ordination with Rahul when he initiated the Congress youth wing enrolment drive. None of them has a leaning towards the camps led by PPCC chief Capt Amarinder Singh and CLP leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.