Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat bypoll on Oct 11, knives out in Congress over candidate
Qadian MLA Fateh Jang Bajwa and Sri Hargobindpur MLA Balwinder Singh Laddi had on Monday stirred the hornet’s nest by stating that the candidate should be announced by the party high command after consultation with Rajya Sabha MP Partap Bajwa (Fateh’s elder brother).punjab Updated: Sep 13, 2017 13:23 IST
On the day of the announcement of bypoll for Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat for October 11, knives are out in the Congress over the party candidate.
Qadian MLA Fateh Jang Bajwa and Sri Hargobindpur MLA Balwinder Singh Laddi had on Monday stirred the hornet’s nest by stating that the candidate should be announced by the party high command after consultation with Rajya Sabha MP Partap Bajwa (Fateh’s elder brother).
Bajwa’s old rival and Punjab rural development minister Tripat Rajinder Bajwa on Tuesday hit out at Fateh saying he was the first to propose the name of Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar at the meeting held recently at Congress Bhawan on the issue.
“The brothers should first consult each other before proposing names. At the meeting, all MLAs from Pathankot and Gurdaspur districts were called and there was consensus over Jakhar’s name. As Rajya Sabha MP, Bajwa can give his suggestions to the party. As for Laddi, he is a MLA from Hoshiarpur and has no locus standi to give his comments on the issue,” Tripat told HT.
Jakhar too did not take kindly to Fateh’s remarks and cautioned him against using public forum for party’s internal matters. “It is not advisable for any party candidate, be it a first-time MLA or a seasoned one, to tell the high command what process to follow for selection of the candidate. It is nobody else’s business. In Congress, booth-level workers too are consulted for selecting candidates and the party will take a call after due deliberations,” Jakhar said.
While the rivalry between Partap and Tripat is an old story, it has been alternating between rivalry to revelry between the two brothers, Fateh and Partap, who became a minister and later MP, while Fateh contested two polls unsuccessfully. After Bajwa was ousted as Punjab Congress chief and nominated to Rajya Sabha in 2016, the family reached a compromise and his wife, Charanjit Kaur, then Qadian MLA, made way for Fateh in the 2017 polls. Fateh was able to win Qadian and it is now his turn to return the favour to Charanjit by supporting her candidature. Fateh could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.
All the seven MLAs from the parliamentary constituency have been rooting for Jakhar to contest, who was earlier not inclined to throw his hat in the ring. But according to party sources, he is most likely to be party’s choice as the bypoll will be a prestige battle for the Congress after winning the state polls with a thumping majority six months ago.
The seat fell vacant after death of Bollywood actor Vinod Khanna. The Bajwas calculations are based on BJP fielding Vinod’s wife, Kavita Khanna, in which case it will a contest between two wives of earlier MPs. Bajwa had defeated Khanna in the 2009 Lok Sabha seat but was defeated by him in the 2014 polls.
Debt waiver promise misses bypoll deadline
With the announcement of Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll for October 11, the much-awaited debt waiver promise of the Captain Amarinder Singh government has hit the poll code wall. The government had decided to first write off crop loans of marginal and small farmers, starting from loans taken from cooperative banks which stand at ₹3,600 crore. Later, loans worth ₹6,000 were taken by them from government and private banks too would have been waived. But the borrowing limit of the government had already reached the permissible limit under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act and the state had requested the Centre to relax it. But the Centre had not obliged the state so far.