Several former Punjab BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) leaders are eyeing the coming municipal elections to launch close relatives in politics and continue their legacies.
At Pathankot, former BJP minister Master Mohan Lal has his nephew, Narinder Kala (46) in the fray for a corporation seat. Pathankot Vikas Manch chairman Kala is known in the city for his social service in the local civil hospital. “I have been working selflessly for 17 years, and this is the first time I am contesting an election,” he told HT.
At Phagwara, former BJP minister Chaudhary Swarna Ram has fielded his son, Manjeet Chaudhry, with a view to carrying forward his political legacy. A graduate, Manjeet, has filed his nomination as BJP candidate from ward 44. This is his first election.
He said his father was not keeping well for the past few years, and finding it increasingly difficult to go out and meet people. “He wanted me to contest this election to keep serving the public,” Manjeet added.
Rakesh Sud, wife of former BJP minister and chief minister’s political adviser Tikshan Sud, was elected unopposed to the Hoshiarpur municipal corporation on Thursday. The nomination papers of the Congress and People’s Party of Punjab candidates against her were rejected during scrutiny, and both had no covering candidate. The PPP accused the BJP of intimidating the proposer into turning hostile. The district administration conceded that Rakesh Sud was the only candidate left in the fray from the ward concerned.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders also have their share of relatives in the contest. At Moga, Joginder Pal Jain, former Congress leader who turned Akali legislator, has fielded his son, Akshit Jain (27), and projected him as mayoral candidate. For the BCA (bachelor of computer applications) student from Punjab Technical University (PTU), this is his first election.
“My family is into politics for decades. My father was chairman of the improvement trust for the longest term of eight years. My mother is acting president of the municipal council. I look after the family business and assist my father in politics,” he said.
In SAS Nagar, both former municipal council president Kulwant Singh and his son, Sarabjit Singh (24), are independent candidates. Kulwant Singh was the Akali candidate from Fatehgarh Sahib in the last Lok Sabha elections. “Politics has bright future. I’m glad my father is there to help me at every step,” said Sarabjit Singh, who is an MBA.
Jaspreet Kaur, wife of former councillor Raja Mohali and daughter-in-law of Akali leader Amrik Singh Mohali, jumped into the civic poll arena after the family’s campaign had a setback on February 12, when Amrik Singh was arrested along with former minister Sucha Singh Langah after court verdict in a 13-year old disproportionate assets case.
Jaspreet, a graduate and a housewife, is active in the social work field. “It (father’s arrest) is no setback. I have been a councillor for 10 years and my father has been president of the SAS Nagar municipal council. The entire town knows us. We had nothing to do with the Langah case as well,” said Raja Mohali.