Hectic lobbying for the Lok Sabha ticket from Sangrur parliamentary constituency has already begun. Traditionally, this Lok Sabha seat has witnessed a direct fight between the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Congress.
Congress’ sitting MP Vijay Inder Singla, considered a close aide of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, is likely to get the nod again. Singla, who enabled the Congress to regain the Sangrur seat after almost two decades, has brought in several projects from the Centre for the region.
However, the party’s Barnala MLA Kewal Dhillon has raised eyebrows by applying for the ticket. Mai Roop Kaur, district party president, said the final decision on the ticket would be taken by the party high command after a meeting slated to be held next month.
The ruling SAD is set to pick the party’s general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, who had lost to Singla by around 41,000 votes in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. Though Dhindsa’s term in the Rajya Sabha will expire in 2016, his candidature is on the cards as the SAD does not have any other senior leader to take on Singla. Earlier, speculation was rife that Dhindsa’s daughter-in-law Gagan Dhindsa, wife of finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa, may get the ticket, but the party has decided to field the senior Dhindsa again.
Those who have applied for the ticket from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) are party’s district convener MS Mann, who is considered the front-runner, Darshan Singh Naniwal of Barnala, Mohmad Jamil-ur-Rehman and Jagjit Singh Dhuri.
Sanjha Morcha yet to decide
The Sanjha Morcha is undecided about its candidate from Sangrur.
Vijay Inder Singla (42)
First-time MP from Sangrur and former president of the Punjab Youth Congress is son of Sant Ram Singla, who was also a Congress MP. Known for his proximity to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who handpicked him for the party ticket in 2009.
Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa (77)
Rajya Sabha MP and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) secretary general Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa had won the Sangrur Lok Sabha in 2004 before losing to Vijay Inder Singla in the next elections. Known for his loyalty to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, he is the chairman of the party’s election manifesto committee. Has been busy defending the Badals as well as the Akali-BJP government against Congress charges on various issues.
Akalis out to regain bastion
Winners from Sangrur Lok Sabha seat since 1992
Year Winner Party
1992 Gurcharan Singh Dadhahoor Congress
1996 Surjit Singh Barnala SAD
1998 Surjit Singh Barnala SAD
1999 Simranjit Singh Mann SAD (A)
2004 Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa SAD
2009 Vijay Inder Singla Congress