Once staunch foot soldiers of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the then Akali Dal stalwart Captain Kanwaljit Singh, who died in a road accident in 2009, several party workers have now positioned themselves as independents against the SAD in Dera Bassi.
With Congress fielding just 10 candidates for the 19 seats, it is now a direct contest between SAD and the dejected party workers, who have chosen a common election symbol, ‘Auto’.
Naresh Saini, a three-time councillor from SAD, who is now contesting independently from ward number 6, said SAD had launched a fresh candidate in his ward, despite knowing that he was holding the seat for the past 15 years. He added that the party refused to allot him a ticket without any reason, so he decided to fight the election independently.
Former Dera Bassi MC president Manjeet Kaur said she was elected as MC president from SAD, but now due to some misunderstanding with local MLA NK Sharma, she was supporting independent candidates. However, they had not left the party, she added.
Jagjit Singh, a local SAD leader and Manjeet’s husband, said they had been working for the party for very long. But since the party appointed NK Sharma for Dera Bassi, he had launched new candidates instead of giving preference to older ones. He alleged that Sharma was giving preferences to realtors, instead of party workers.
Former Dera Bassi SAD president Suresh Sharda said he had been serving the party for the past 32 years, yet the party had done injustice to him. He added that even his son, Ketan Sharda, was working with the Youth Akali dal in the area, but NK Sharma refused to give him a ticket.
Therefore, he had launched Ketan as an independent candidate from ward number 14.
While talking to HT, chief parliamentary secretary NK Sharma said during elections, a number of candidates sought tickets, but the party chose only the best. He added that in Dera Bassi, an average of four candidates sought tickets, and the ticket was given to the deserving candidate. Sharma said Sharda had been expelled from the party, therefore he was contesting the elections independently.