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Dummy candidates get real for Badal

The election commission may have become more proactive over the years, but this does not prevent political parties from resorting to the age-old practice of fielding dummy candidates to conceal their election expenditure. Kamaldeep Singh Brar reports.

india Updated: Jan 17, 2012 20:03 IST
Kamaldeep Singh Brar

The election commission may have become more proactive over the years, but this does not prevent political parties from resorting to the age-old practice of fielding dummy candidates to conceal their election expenditure.

The expenditure registers of the main contenders across the state do not have much to show simply because of the dummy candidates fielded by their parties.

HT has come across two such candidates contesting against chief minister Parkash Singh Badal in Lambi. Though outwardly they may appear to be opposing Badal, they are in fact keeping a check on his poll expenditure.

Two veteran SAD workers from Dhula and Midhu Khera, villages of Lambi constituency, have filed their nomination papers as "rebels" to take on the CM.

Belonging to SC community, Nachatar Singh of Midhu Khera is contesting the assembly election for the first time. He has deposited a security of Rs 5,000 with the Lambi returning officer. Villagers say he can be found at the residence of Akali sarpanch Gurbakhshish Singh in Midhu Khera on any given day.

Gurbakhshish Singh is brother of Tajinder Singh Midhu Khera, who was appointed as cooperative bank chairman by the SAD. Tajinder, a dedicated SAD worker, was present in almost every rally addressed by Badal in Lambi during his election campaign.

It is learnt that Nachatar, who has been provided security by the EC, has not campaigned in the constituency so far. Sources said the gunmen provided to him had been attached with an SAD leader of the village.

The toilet in Nachatar's house had been sanctioned by the state government. He is, however, not a novice in village politics. He had successfully contested the panchayat elections in 2005.

The Lambi returning officer had asked all Independents to collect their election symbols, but Nachatar did not turn up.

After receiving a message, Nachatar came to meet the HT team on a cycle, the only vehicle he owns. "I am contesting for the first time. I am happy about it," is all he told HT. Nachatar also informed the village sarpanch on phone that some journalists had come to click his photographs. He posed for the lensman only after getting a green signal from the sarpanch.

Another Akali worker very close to the Badal family, Jaswinder Singh of Dhula village, is contesting as an Independent. He has many photographs in the guestroom of his house, where he is posing with Badal and his son Sukhbir Badal.

Jaswinder's brother Jasvir Singh said Jaswinder had gone to attend a wedding on the day the election commission was to allot the symbols.

Villagers of Dhula have no clue that Jaswinder is contesting from Lambi. "You've got it wrong. No one from our village is contesting," they said. They, however, confirmed that Jaswinder was close to Badals.

Interestingly, Nachatar and Jaswinder got their nomination papers scrutinised from the same notary commissioner, Gurmeet Singh Mann of Gidderbaha, who had also scrutinised Badal's papers.