Even before the voting on June 7, an Akali-BJP clean sweep is almost certain in Dharamkot. Thanks to sabre-rattling within the party, the Congress in Moga district failed to field a candidate for any of the 13 municipal-committee seats in Dharamkot. The rival combination of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has not only picked all challengers but also and gone ahead with canvassing.
Even on Thursday, last day of nomination, the Congress failed to make up its mind. After a stiff competition from the Congress in the latest assembly election at Dharamkot, the Akalis (fighting 11 seats) and the BJP (contesting 2 seats) will enjoy a clear field.
"Jagdarshan Kaur, president of the district Congress committee (DCC), ignored the rules of the party," Tara Singh Sandhu, former DCC president, stated here on Friday. "She called no meeting for finalising candidates, and even Sukhjit Singh Kaka Lohgarh failed to keep the flock together. We missed the nomination deadline."
Lohgarh was the Congress candidate who made the going tough for former education and agriculture minister Tota Singh in the last assembly election. Sure to be missing the local-body elections, he flew aboard a few days ago.
"Senior Congress leaders of the district stood up to the SAD-BJP candidate in Dharamkot assembly contest but that effort is waste because of the apathy of the DCC president," said Harpal Singh Brar, secretary of the Punjab pardesh Congress committee (PPCC).
"State Congress president captain Amarinder Singh had made it clear that all DCC presidents would have to take selection decisions in a meeting, but in Moga, nobody took interest in the job."
"All Congress workers in Dharamkot are disappointed because the DCC president failed to uphold the party protocol," said colonel Babu Singh, another former president of the district Congress unit.
DCC president Jagdarshan Kaur, has shifted the blame to Lohgarh. "Kaka Lohgarh migrated from the SAD," she said. "He could not adjust in the Congress. He went abroad without notice. The option with the Congress now is to support independent candidates."
"The SAD-BJP alliance will contest all 13 seats, and our election campaign is on under the guidance of former minister Tota Singh," said Barjinder Singh Brar, president of the municipal council of Moga and man in charge of the SAD-BJP municipal election campaign. "The SAD-BJP will make a clean sweep in Dharamkot because the Congress has lost its political ground in the constituency."