Congress offering Maur or Moga, Manpreet Badal adamant on Bathinda | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Congress offering Maur or Moga, Manpreet Badal adamant on Bathinda

Former finance minister of Punjab, Manpreet Singh Badal, who had joined the Congress in January this year, is struggling to fight elections from the segment of his choice. He is demanding ticket from Bathinda (Urban), whereas the party is giving him the choice between Maur and Moga, it is learnt.

punjab Updated: Nov 30, 2016 13:04 IST
Vishal Rambani
Former finance minister of Punjab Manpreet Singh Badal
Former finance minister of Punjab Manpreet Singh Badal(HT File Photo)

Former finance minister of Punjab, Manpreet Singh Badal, who had joined the Congress in January this year, is struggling to fight elections from the segment of his choice. He is demanding ticket from Bathinda (Urban), whereas the party is giving him the choice between Maur and Moga, it is learnt.

As the Congress high command has started the process of allotting tickets, Manpreet is as nervous an applicant as any other even though he is the vice-president in the state unit and assigned the job to draft the party manifesto.

Manpreet has been active in the Bathinda (Urban) seat since he joined the Congress. However, during the screeing committee meeting, the members were of the opinion that the ticket for the seat should go to a candidate belonging to the Baniya community. Former finance minister Surinder Singla is also in race and he has the backing of PPCC president Amarinder Singh. During a recent visit to Bathinda, Captain Amarinder had openly batted for Singla’s candidature.

“In the initial plan, we have asked Manpreet to contest either from Maur or Moga. Moga is an open field after MLA Joginder Jain joined the Akali Dal in 2013. Manpreet had unsuccessfully contested from Maur in 2012 and taken a lead from here in the Lok Sabha election when he fought against Harsimrat Kaur Badal in 2014. Party has conveyed its mind to him and asked him to select a seat,” said a screening committee member. Manpreet was the poor third in 2012 assembly election from Maur, where Akali Dal strongman Janmeja Singh Sekhon had defeated Congress’ Mangat Rai Bansal by nearly 1,200 votes. He had also lost his traditional seat Gidderbaha in 2012, from where he was elected four times.

On the other side, a section of Congressmen of Malwa are urging the high command to field Manpreet against his uncle and CM Parkash SIngh Badal from Lambi. After joining the Congress, Manpreet had once offered to contest from Lambi, but later withdrew. Congressmen feel that by fielding Manpreet from Lambi, the party can restrict the movement of the chief minister who is known for tirelessly campaigning across the state.

“Manpreet is very calculative. He knew that a defeat in 2017 polls will end his career, thus he is not taking chances. Both Moga and Maur are tough seats for him in comparison to Bathinda (Urban). Even private surveys show Manpreet on a sound footing in Bathinda (Urban),” said a close aide of Manpreet.

Despite attempts Mannpreet Badal could not be contacted.