Politics can throw up strange equations.
District Congress committee president and MLA Hardial Singh Kamboj voted in favour of a Akali candidate in polls to elect the chairman of Rajpur block samiti.
This was after the SAD's 16 members in the 25-member body could not take a decision on the appointment of a chairman and vice-chairman. The Akalis were divided into two groups with five and 11 members.
Kamboj's detractors allege that his unilateral decision to vote for an Akali without bargaining for any position had weakened the party, a charge denied by the MLA.
The five-member Akali faction was led by Ghanaur MLA Harpreet Kaur. BJP leader Raj Khurana was leading the 11-member faction.
Education minister Sikander Singh Maluka had tried to unite the factions, but failed. Eventually, local SGPC member Surjit Singh Ghari garnered some support from both groups and approached Kamboj for support.
Kamboj then decided to intervene, without consulting the party high-command, and his vote helped Akali Lakhbir Singh to be elected as chairman, while another Akali Sukhwinder Singh was elected
Local Congress leaders gave trained their guns on him. "Kamboj is DCC Patiala rural president. Instead of offering opposition to the SAD-BJP, he has demoralised party workers by voting for Akalis. We have demanded action against him from the party president," said Rajinder Raja, a Congressman and former president of Rajpura municipal council.
He claimed that some Congresas leaders had taken up the matter with AICC general secretary and Punjab affair incharge Shakeel Ahmed.
However, when contacted Hardial Kamboj claimed that lent support to the Akalis to take advantage of the divide among them.
"With my smart political maneuvering, we managed to sideline both Ghanaur MLA Harpreet Kaur and former Rajpura BJP MLA Raj Khurana," he said.
"It was a local decision and those criticising it are actually well-wishers of Khurana. I voted for Lakhbir so that he becomes dependent on Congress for his continuation in power. We can get our development works done, threatening withdrawal of support."