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Why the merger fell through

india Updated: Jan 01, 2012 14:43 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva

The much-speculated merger of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal) into the Congress did not take place as the two parties failed to reach a consensus.

As per sources in the Congress and the SAD (Longowal), the former was at one stage ready to allot the ticket to Gaganjit Barnala, son of Surjit Singh Barnala, but on the condition that the former Punjab CM would campaign for the Congress.

Sources said the senior Barnala refused to canvass for the Congress.

"Surjit Singh Barnala stuck to his stand as he had always accused the Congress of being anti-Sikh," said a close aide of the Barnala family.

The Barnalas also wanted the ticket for their close aide, Baldev Singh Barnala, from Sangrur, but Congress leaders opposed the demand.

When HT asked Gaganjit Barnala about the merger that didn’t occur, he said, "Let's not talk about the past now. I am ready to contest from Dhuri as the Sanjha Morcha candidate and would surely win."

In 2002, Gaganjit had won from Dhuri as the SAD candidate. In 2007, he lost to SAD rebel and independent candidate Iqbal Singh Jhunda.