Faced with infighting over allotment of tickets for block samiti and zila parishad polls in Patiala district, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Monday tried to win over disgruntled leaders from within and ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by allotting tickets to the “annoyed”.
The SAD party affairs in-charge for Patiala district, Sikander Singh Maluka, in the first list announced on Monday tried to strike a balance between SAD leaders, especially in Sanaur assembly segment, where a group led by Youth Akali Dal district president Harmeet Singh Pathanmajra had opened a banner of revolt against party assembly in-charge TPS Sandhu.
Of the 31 block samiti seats in the segment, members of Pathanamjra group will contest on SAD tickets from 13. Also, the group has got a party ticket to contest from one of the four zila parishad seats in the segment.
Before announcing the list, Malooka had conveyed a meeting between Sandhu and Pathanmajra on Monday afternoon during which a verbal spat also took place between the two leaders.
Malooka, however, intervened and asked both the leaders to maintain decorum, a source said.
The SAD has also tried to cool down BJP, which had earlier announced to field its candidates from all block samitis of Nabha assembly segment. The SAD has given a block samiti seat in Nabha assembly to the saffron party, though the BJP had demanded three.
The SAD announced its first list of 17 candidates for zila parishad polls just a day before the last date for filing of nominations, which is Tuesday.
Sources said the deadlock over the allotment of tickets is still prevailing over a zila parishad seat from Samana segment, represented by rural development minister Surjit Singh Rakhra. A decision on another seat, comprising areas of both Samana and Chutrana assembly segments, is pending because the SAD leaderships of both the constituencies want the seat for their loyals.
Of the 21 zila parishad seats in Patiala district, 19 would be contested by SAD, while two seats under Rajpura assembly segment will be contested by the BJP.
Of these 21, six seats are reserved for the scheduled caste (SC), including two seats for SC women, five seats are reserved for women, while the rest will witness an open battle.
Congress is yet to come out with its list of candidates and has alleged that the SAD leaders were trying to pressure Congress leaders not to file the nominations. “It's highly disgraceful that the SAD leadership in the entire district has started threatening Congress lears. I dare them to conduct free and fair polls. They will get to know what was the reality of the development claims in the villages,” said Patiala (rural) MLA Brahm Mohindra.
In the impending local body polls in Patiala, 7.95lakh people will have an opportunity to exercise their right to vote. Of these 4.23 lakh are men, while 3.72 lakh are women. Voting will be held on May 19. There are total 167 block samiti seats in Patiala district.