Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) secretary general and Rajya Sabha MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa faces the acid test in assembly segments falling under the Sangrur parliamentary seat.
His son, three-time MLA and PWD minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa, is contesting from the Sunam seat, while three of his loyalists are in the fray from Lehra, Amargarh and Sangrur constituencies.
Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa had lost the 2009 Lok Sabha polls from Sangrur to the Congress’ Vijay Inder Singla. At that time, the SAD was defeated in six of the nine assembly segments under the parliamentary seat.
In the 2007 assembly polls, Parminder had defeated Congress candidate Aman Arora by a margin of more than 10,000 votes. However, in those elections, Aman’s brother-in-law Rajinder Deepa had contested as an Independent and got more than 18,000 votes, paving the way for Parminder’s victory. Aman is the son of former minister late Bhagwan Dass Arora. This time, Deepa, who tried in vain for the Congress ticket, has opted out following persuasion by the family.
The senior Dhindsa says, “I am campaigning for every SAD candidate in the Sangrur parliamentary constituency. If I am canvassing actively for Parminder, it does not mean he is on a sticky wicket. My son has performed well by carrying out development in his constituency.”
Party candidates Sukhwant Singh Sarao (Lehra), Parkash Chand Garg (Sangrur) and Iqbal Singh Jhunda (Amargarh) are among Dhindsa’s close associates for whom he played a vital role in getting the ticket.
In 2007, Garg lost to the Congress’ Surinder Pal Singh Sibia, while Sarao, a former bureaucrat, is contesting for the first time — against Congress heavyweight Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.
Jhunda, the sitting Independent MLA from Dhuri, is contesting on the SAD ticket from the newly-carved Amargarh constituency.
“It is my good luck that I have been given the task of leading the party in the region. And I am sure the SAD will improve its tally from Sangrur and Barnala,” Dhindsa said.