Congress’ Khemkaran nominee Sukhpal Singh Bhullar, son of former state minister Gurchet Singh Bhullar, has failed to formally launch his campaign even a week after the announcement of his candidature amid stiff opposition by his father and elder brother Anoop Singh, who were both contenders for the party ticket.
Sukhpal, who had planned a road show from Amarkot village to Bhikhiwind to start his campaign on Wednesday, postponed it at the eleventh hour.
The party’s decision to replace Gurchet, who had lost the seat to Akali candidate Virsa Singh Valtoha in the 2012 assembly polls, with his younger son Sukhpal, who is District Congress Committee (DCC) president, has created a division in the Bhullar family. Anoop, who is also an active leader of the party, strongly opposed the candidature of his younger brother right from the day it was announced on December 23.
Seeking withdrawal of ticket from Sukhpal, Anoop even declared that his father would contest the polls as an Independent candidate if the party does not change its decision.
Though Sukhpal confirmed the postponement of the event, he claimed it was just a show organised by the party workers to hail his candidature.
PARTY’S EFFORTS ON FOR PATCH-UP
Meanwhile, sources said state Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh is trying to ensure that Gurchet and Anoop fall in line and support Sukhpal in his campaign.
Though some local leaders are also making efforts to ensure reconciliation among the two camps in the family, sources close to Gurchet said there is no question of reconciliation. Gurchet had warned the high command in advance that allotment of ticket to either of his sons would divide his family, they added.
Talking to HT, Sukhpal said, “Hopefully, the dispute in my family will be resolved by Sunday when an ‘akhand path’ will be organised by the entire family.”
However, the sources said Anoop is still demanding a review of Sukhpal’s candidature and had paid several visits to New Delhi to ensure that the ticket is allotted to his father.
At present, Sukhpal is conducting village-level meetings with the workers on its own. His father and brother are missing at these meetings.
Gurchet and Anoop were not available for their comments despite repeated attempts made by HT.