Even after death, Dilbagh Singh appears to be fighting the election from Nawanshahr, and from both sides. While his son Charanjit Singh Channi, 75, is the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate, Angad Singh, 26, who is a grandson of Dilbagh’s brother, is fighting on the Congress ticket.
Both are extensively using the name and face of former cabinet minister and late Congress veteran Dilbagh, who had played a key role in formation of the district Nawanshahr (since renamed Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar) after it was carved out of Hoshiarpur and Jalandhar in 1995.
Channi was Hoshiarpur MP (1999-2004) and also MLA from Nawanshahr. Angad is the son of incumbent MLA Guriqbal Kaur and former MLA Parkash Singh, who had died in 2010. Parkash was the son of Dilbagh’s brother Lakhvir Singh.
Over the past few months, Angad organised cricket tournaments under the aegis of a charitable trust named after Dilbagh Singh. Hoardings in favour of Channi, who is now with the Arvind Kejriwal-led rookie party, also carry father Dilbagh’s photos.
Meanwhile, Angad on his Facebook page has been sharing old pictures of Dilbagh and videos in which he repeatedly mentions the name of the former minister.
On Saturday, when Angad arrived here from New Delhi, his supporters organised a roadshow from Rahon to Nawanshahr and, before reaching his home, Angad paid tributes at the memorial of Dilbagh and Parkash.
Channi told HT, “I am Dilbagh Singh’s son, and it’s I who will take his legacy forward. If anyone else uses his name, that’s up to that person.”
Angad, however, said, “My grandfather Lakhvir Singh died at a time when my father Parkash Singh was very young, and then Dilbagh Singh took care of him.” He added that his grandfather, Lakhvir Singh, had four brothers, including Dilbagh. “I used to address all of them as ‘grandfather’.”
On the poll contest against uncle Channi, Angad said, “It is very unfortunate that I have to fight against someone who is of the same blood.”