Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would field late sitting MLA Amarjit Singh Sahi’s widow Sukhjeet Kaur for the July 11 by-election to Dasuya assembly segment, a step apparently aimed at cashing in on the sympathy wave after the death of the then chief parliamentary secretary. She would be pitted against Punjab Congress nominee Arun Dogra 'Mickey'.
Speaking to Hindustan Times over phone, Punjab Congress affairs incharge Gulchain Singh Charak, a Congress Working Committee member, said on Tuesday that the Congress high command had decided in Mickey's favour.
Mickey's father Ramesh Chander Dogra, a former minister and Dasuya MLA had declined to contest due to ill health, sources said. He forwarded his son's name as his replacement. Ramesh had lost to Sahi in the last assembly election. Chief parliamentary secretary Amarjit Singh Sahi had died on June 3.
Insiders said that the Congress appeared to have allotted the party ticket to Mickey to avoid rebellion in the region from the influential Dogra family. Senior Dogra had won the seat for Congress four times since 1985.
BJP's candidate Sahi broke senior Dogra's winning spree, defeating him in 2007 and retaining the seat in 2012 assembly polls as well.
Congress seems to be playing the Hindu card in a predominantly Hindu area by fielding Dogra as its candidate.
The party wants to consolidate its Hindu vote bank in light of the government appeasing the Sikh radicals in the state in the recent past, sources said.
Congress candidate Mickey wants to continue his father's legacy and develop the region. "We will highlight the problems of Kandi areas, rising unemployment and prevailing corruption in government offices during electioneering," he said.