Advocate Simarpartap Singh Barnala (27), the grandson of Akali stalwart and former Punjab chief minister Surjit Singh Barnala, is emerging as the consensus candidate of joint opposition parties for the Dhuri bypoll.
With the Congress high command likely not to field its own candidate, Simar could contest on the party symbol, as per the formula reached by the opposition parties during a meeting with Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmad.
Ahmad had forwarded the names of former MP Vijay Inder Singla, Dhanwant Singh Dhuri, Surjit Singh Dhiman, Karan Dhillon and Mai Roop Kaur for the ticket, apart from mentioning that the opposition parties of Punjab were ready to field a joint candidate who would contest on the Congress symbol.
“I have forwarded the panel and other options to party president Sonia Gandhi, who will take the final call on Friday,” said Ahmad.
Sources said the Congress had put a rider that a young candidate be fielded, thus the Barnala family decided to ask Simar to enter the electoral arena. A Doon school passout and LLB degree holder from Law University, Hyderabad, Simar is practising in the Punjab and Haryana high court. He has also represented Uttarakhand in the National Games in basketball and cricket.
“We are ready for the poll and awaiting the Congress reply to form a joint front for this bypoll. On the family’s part, we have taken the decision to field Simar,” said Gaganjeet Barnala, general secretary of the Sanjha Morcha.