Apparently playing the caste card, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has fielded Satnam Singh Kamboj as its candidate for Ferozepur parliamentary seat.
The Kamboj community (about one Lakh) is the second highest vote bank after Rai Sikhs (2.30 lakh) in the nine assembly segments of Ferozepur.
Satnam Singh Kamboj remained president of the Ferozepur Bar Association and is practicing in the local Bar Council.
He had unsuccessfully contested last assembly polls from Guru Har Sahai. He had been active in Bahujan Samaj Party too and for the past few months, he had aligned with AAP.
Out of the nine assembly segments of Ferozepur, five are largely urban. Hence, political observers had predicted that AAP might get good support mainly of middle class and others, that could affect the outcome of the poll result.
It may by mentioned here that SAD(B) had re-imposed its faith on sitting MP Sher Singh Ghubaya, a Rai Sikh, largely taking in view the significant presence of Rai Sikhs in the constituency though Gubhaya did not enjoy cordial relations with a section of senior SAD as well as BJP leaders in Ferozepur.
“SAD high command did not take the risk to annoy the Rai Sikh electorate by refusing party ticket to Sher Singh Ghubaya, who was sent into the election fray in 2009 parliamentary polls for only being a Rai Sikh leader even by ignoring Gubhaya’s political mentor and then sitting MP Zora Singh Mann, who has won Ferozepur seat three times in a row.
The prospects of Congress nominee and CLP leader Sunil Jakhar largely depend on the role of the party’s local leaders as, since 1989, Congress had been tasting dust in the MP poll battle and every time the party nominee had alleged “internal sabotage” as the prime cause of their defeat.
So far, senior Congress leader Jagmeet Singh Brar, who had thrice unsuccessfully contested the polls from Ferozepur, and Guru Har Sahai MLA Rana Gurmit Sohi, who was also a strong ticket contender this time, had not joined the poll campaign for Sunil Jakhar.
Anumeet Hira Sodhi, a youth leader and son of Rana Gurmit Sodhi, had also expressed disappointment on the refusal of the party ticket to his father and accused the the state leadership of the party for it.
Candidate for Bathinda before April 2
Kultar Singh, convener of the state campaign committee of AAP, said at a press conference here on Friday that there was no question of supporting People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) founder Manpreet Singh Badal, who is contesting the Lok Sabha election from here against SAD candidate Harsimrat Kaur Badal, but the party would announce its own candidate for the seat soon before April 2.
“The candidate will be announced before April 2. We are committed to field the best possible candidate from Bathinda and defeat the Badal family. There is no question of going in alliance with PPP or any other party,” Kultar Singh said.
Former director general of prisons (DGP) Shashi Kant was also present at the press conference and his presence created the rumor that he could be the AAP candidate from constituency. However, Shashi Kant claimed that he was here as part of a tour of all districts in the state.
Sources said that AAP is a divided house on the issue of a candidate from Bathinda as one group wants to field Sashi Kant while the other favours a local leaders to take on Harsimrat.
Meanwhile, Shashi Kant criticised the state election commission for failing to check the use of drugs during elections.
“If drugs are distributed during elections among the voters, I would file a petition against the Election Commission of India in the Supreme Court,” the former IGP said.