The decision of the Congress high command to field senior leader Ambika Soni from Anandpur Sahib has boosted the sagging morale of the party workers in the Lok Sabha constituency.
Since even the leaders of various Congress factions in the constituency are united in welcoming the choice, the party workers are thrilled and now confident of winning the seat. In their opinion, Soni is a candidate who can bind them into a unit to give a tough fight to Shiormani Akali Dal candidate Prem Singh Chandumajra, who has taken a head start in the campaign.
Even in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Soni was a serious contender for this Congress ticket. She even started preparing for contesting the elections before the party fielded Ravneet Singh Bittu, who was then Punjab Youth Congress president.
This time, it’s Bittu who started campaigning in advance but the ticket went to Soni because of negative feedback about the sitting MP.
Sources in the Congress said the party had inputs from various quarters that Bittu might lose his seat, since as he didn’t have the support of all factions and the anti-incumbency factor was also against him.
Bittu had sided openly with the faction of former legislator Rana KP Singh and former minister Dr Romesh Dutt Sharma, who are opposed to Rupnagar district Congress president Harbhag Singh Saini. Saini supporters had threatened to boycott Bittu’s poll campaign over being not invited by Rana KP Singh to the party’s Hola Mohalla conference at Anandpur Sahib, which was cancelled later.