With Congress veteran Ambika Soni jumping into poll fray, battle in the Anandpur Sahib constituency has become interesting. With sitting and former Congress MLAs putting up a united face, Soni claims to have all the support in the constituency.
But, Shiromani Akali Dal candidate from Anandpur Sahib constituency Prem Singh Chandumajra alleges that the Congress candidate is a “seasonal bird” who will only visit the area during the elections.
“I have been living and working in the constituency for the past 35 years,” adds Chandumajra.
However, Akalis too believe that now it is not that easy for Chandumajra.
Sitting Congress MLAs from the constituency, who consider Soni as stalwart leader, include Balbir Singh Sidhu, Jagmohan Kang, Charanjeet Singh Channi, Tarlochan Singh Soondh and for mer MLAs Romesh Dutt Sharma, Love Kumar Goldy, Rana KP Singh and Shamsher Singh Rai.
Punjabi singer KS Makhan is Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)’s candidate from Anandpur Sahib, who also claims to have a base of around 1lakh voters in the constituency.
Speaking to HT, Congress MLA from SAS Nagar Balbir Singh Sidhu, who consider Soni as her political guru, says, “She is the tallest leader in the Congress and will win by thumping majority.
Chandumajra, who has suffered defeat in most of the elections, will have to forfeit his security.” Most of problems of the area were sorted out at central level through Soni only, he added.
On other hand, Chandumajra says, “Congress MP from Anandpur Sahib Ravneet Singh Bittu has packed his bags as he fears defeat by huge margin and Soni will meet the same fate. Congress leaders are ‘seasonal birds’ who will only visit the area during the elections.”
Sources in the Akali Dal say with the return of Congress leader Rajbir Singh Padiala into the SAD, former Akali MLA Ujjagar Singh Badali, who has strong base in the Kharar area, is not taking any interest in Chandumajra’s campaign fearing that he may not get ticket in the next assembly elections.
With Soni jumping in fray, it not that easy for Chandumajra and he has to work very hard, the sources added.
One of the Congress leaders, on the condition of anonymity, say Bittu’s name has been dropped as he failed to pick up campaign and anti-incumbency factor is working against him. But, most of the Congress MLAs are internally not supporting Bittu.
The Congress high command want all senior leaders to contest and Soni is best bet for the area as she is familiar with the constituency and will win with thumping majority.
Also, Chandumajra has been a loser in his last three elections. In 2007, he lost the assembly polls from Lehragaga; in 2009, from the parliamentary constituency of Patiala, and the 2012 assembly elections from Fatehgarh Sahib, he added.