More than a dozen senior Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders from Patiala district are lobbying for tickets for their kin ahead of the civic body elections, leaving little chance for ordinary workers of the party.
The grassroots-level workers of SAD, who toil to strengthen the party and play a key role in every poll, feel left out as all prominent party leaders are jostling to fit their sons in 15 of the 35 seats that SAD will contest in the 50-member house. Akali's alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party will contest 15 seats.
Apart from mayor Ajit Pal Singh Kohli, son of former minister Surjit Singh Kohli, frontrunners for tickets from different wards include Harinderpal Singh Tohra, son of former Punjab minister Harmail Tohra; Sukhi Rakhra, son of cabinet minister Surjit Singh Rakhra; sitting councillor Amarinder Bajaj, son of senior SAD leader and chairman of Patiala improvement trust Inder Mohan Bajaj and Captain Preetinder Singh, son of senior SAD leader Jaspal Pardhan.
Former Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee chief Kirpal Singh Badhungar is also vying for a ticket for his son Shamsher Singh, who has taken premature retirement from Pepsu Roadways Transport Corporation (PRTC), a few days ago.
Significantly, most of these leaders are seeking tickets for their family members with an eye on the coveted post of mayor as they are of the opinion that SAD-BJP combine will make a clean sweep in the civic body polls next month.
Amid the scramble for tickets, it would be interesting to see what decision Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal takes regarding party nominations.
Though Badal has made it clear that "winnability" and "merit" would be the sole criteria for choosing candidates, Akali leaders in Patiala are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that their family members make the cut.
"It's disheartening for grassroots-level workers," a SAD leader said. "The scope for leaders like us is decreasing as big leaders are lobbying hard for their family members and were not even listening to the deserving workers."