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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014
Mixed performance by Rahul’s chosen ones in Punjab
Manpreet Randhawa, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, March 06, 2012
First Published: 21:40 IST(6/3/2012)
Last Updated: 21:43 IST(6/3/2012)

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.

It is interesting to note that People’s Party of Punjab, president, Manpreet Singh Badal also contested from Gidderbaha seat and only managed to come third. Manpreet has been winning the Gidderbaha seat, the last four times, which his uncle and Punjab Chief minister, Parkash Singh Badal passed on to him in 1995.

Nagra defeated Chandumajra, who is also the general secretary of the SAD by 3534 votes. Akali rebel Ajaib Singh Bhatti, who was a sitting SAD MLA and contested independently from Fategarh Sahib after he was denied the ticket, also posed a challenge to Nagra but only to come at third place.

Rahul picked up the only woman candidate Satkar Kaur (30) for the Ferozepur (rural) which is a reserve constituency. However she lost the seat to Joginder Singh alias Jindu of the SAD by a very close margin. While SAD candidate won 61772 votes Satkar Kaur got 61665 votes.

Lakhvir Singh Lakha (33) who was put in the fray for the Payal, a 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) was chosen for Balachaur, a reserve seat considered to be an Akali citadel. Lucky came third while SAD old warhorse Nand Lal has won the seat from the BSP rival candidate.

Shailenderjit Singh Shelly (36) was shortlisted for the Majitha seat to take on SAD’s 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 and was third in the fray.

Unlike the Lok Sabha polls in 2009 when Rahul Gandhi handpicked all three candidates from political families, Vijayinder Singla from Sangrur, Sukhwinder Singh Danny from Faridkot and Ravneet Singh Bittu from Anandpur Sahib this time all the candidates were from humble and non political backgrounds.

While Lucky is the son of a retired agricultural office, Satkar is the daughter of a retired teacher. Similarly Nagra, Raja and Shelly are from humble family backgrounds.

All six were working in close association with Rahul when he had initiated the youth wing enrolment drive of the party. None of them has a leaning towards the camps led by PPCC, chief Capt Amarinder Singh and CLP leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal or any other group of the party.

In fact when Amarinder and Bhattal and other senior leaders of the party opposed their candidature on flimsy grounds and tried to push their own candidates, they were snubbed by the party high command.


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