Veteran Congressman and sitting councillor of the Amritsar Municipal Corporation (AMC) Kulbhushan Duggal is a shattered man as he has been denied ticket by the party that he had "served loyally for 45 years".
"This was to be my last election and I had a desire that for the last time I would go to the people with the 'hand' symbol. But my dreams have been shattered and my seat has been sold out," said the councillor from Ward No 21 as he tried to fight back tears.
Addressing reporters here on Saturday, Duggal said he never aspired to be a leader but always considered himself a 'sewadar' (servant) of the Congress. "This is the reward I have got for my loyality," he said while recalling that after joining the Congress the first task he got was his appointment as the polling agent of the then senior party leader Jai Inder Singh in the 1962 assembly polls.
The denial of the ticket to Duggal from Ward No 21 has surprised many Congressmen in the city as he had always remained loyal and had never ever courted any controversy.
Since the AMC came into being, he fought four elections, losing only one. He is also the general secretary of the urban unit of the District Congress Committee (DCC) and a loyalist of Amritsar Central MLA OP Soni.
"I have not been denied the ticket, it is Soni who has been denied the ticket," he said while pointing out that his party activists often referred to him as Soni's political guru.
Asked the reasons for being denied the ticket, Duggal said that probably some leaders thought that in case he won this time, he would aspire for the MLA's ticket in the next assembly polls. "I categorically told them that I had no such ambitions," he said.
About his next step, he said, "I will go by the verdict of my supporters; if they want me to contest, I will enter the fray as an independent."
Surab Madaan, a Youth Congress leader who was aspiring for the party ticket from Ward No 27, and Gurpreet Singh, another youth leader who had filed his name for Ward No 27, accused some leaders of demanding money for tickets.