Raja Malwinder Singh, who parted ways with his elder brother and Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh just before the January 30 assembly polls, has claimed that he is being ignored by the party he joined - the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
Malwinder, a scion of the Patiala royal family, said he was not being invited to functions organised by the SAD as well as the Punjab government. He was also not invited for chief minister Parkash Singh Badal's visit to Samana on Friday. This was the CM's first visit to the town after the assembly polls.
"Sometimes, I regret my decision (to join the SAD). I created a rift in my family because of my morality and principles, but the SAD is letting me down," Malwinder told HT.
"Ignoring me can cost the SAD dear in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. They must not forget that they won the Samana assembly seat because of me. Otherwise, Akali candidate Surjit Singh Rakhra would have lost by 15,000 votes," he said.
Malwinder had canvassed in Rakhra's favour against his own nephew Raninder Singh (Amarinder's son). He had switched sides after the Congress gave the ticket to Raninder instead of Malwinder. The latter had even blamed his sister-in-law, Amarinder's wife Preneet Kaur, for ignoring his candidature.
"It's really sad that the SAD has forgotten my role in Raninder's defeat. I am also upset with cabinet minister Rakhra. He is selfish and shameless. Instead of thanking me for his victory, he didn't invite me to any function," said Malwinder.
Interestingly, Malwinder had objected to a local Akali leader's anti-Amarinder remarks during a function held in May to celebrate Rakhra's induction into the cabinet.
When Malwinder was inducted into the SAD in the presence of the CM as well as deputy chief minister and SAD chief Sukhbir Badal in January in Chandigarh, he had been promised "full respect and a suitable role" in the party. He had even been tipped as the party candidate against Preneet from the Patiala Lok Sabha seat. However, the CM said in Samana on Friday that the SAD had not finalised any candidate so far from the Patiala seat.
When asked whether he would approach the CM or Sukhbir, Malwinder said, "I am not a beggar. If they (Badals) are interested in me, they should convey it to me or remove me from party."