For the sake of unity before the by-elections, Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa is even ready go by the decision of his archrival in the party, Captain Amarinder Singh, in fielding a candidate for this seat.
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) will either not send a panel of candidate names to the selection authorities or follow the recommendation of Amarinder, who is at loggerheads with Bajwa since the latter replaced him as state party president.
The PPCC is on with the process of finalising the candidates for the Patiala and Talwandi Sabo assembly seats, for which the voting is on August 21. At Patiala, Bajwa has held separate private meetings with senior Congress leaders Lal Singh and Brahm Mohindra to shortlist the names.
“As Captain Amarinder Singh has represented Patiala thrice in the assembly and as the seat has fallen vacant upon his election as MP (member of Parliament) from Amritsar, it’s his right and his call to name the next candidate. The PPCC will go by his wishes,” Bajwa told HT here on Sunday.
For Talwandi Sabo, the PPCC is considering to field former legislator Harminder Jassi, who wants ticket for his son, Sanpreet Singh. Youth Congress leader Subhash Jattana is also in that race. The Congress dilemma is that Jassi is a close relative of Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, while the constituency is Sikh-dominated because of the presence of Takht Damdama Sahib.
Jassi’s relations with the dera head may polarise the Sikh vote, as the Sirsa sect leader is charged with provoking the community in the past. “The PPCC will send three names for the Talwandi Sabo seat by Monday. I will meet party workers and consult leaders that day before sending these names forward,” said Bajwa.
The ticket will be decided in the coming week. “Looking at the widespread public anger against the Akali-BJP government, the Congress is confident of winning both seats,” Bajwa added.