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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

To keep his detractors at bay, Singla tries to appease Capt

Neeraj Mohan, Hindustan Times  Sangrur, April 17, 2014
First Published: 12:52 IST(17/4/2014) | Last Updated: 12:54 IST(17/4/2014)

Worried over differences within the party rank and file that may hamper his poll prospects, sitting Congress MP from the Sangrur parliamentary constituency Vijay Inder Singla has been trying his best to win support of former Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh and his loyalists in Sangrur.

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In a recent statement to the media, Singla has called Amarinder as his “political mentor”. Though Singla’ s move has been aimed at securing the support of Amarinder loyalists in the Sangrur region, especially of the annoyed party MLAs, it is likely to upset other influential leaders, including former chief minister Rajinder Kaur Batthal, who remained the Captain’s biggest critic.

Batthal — a senior Congress leader from Sangrur region who also represents the Lehragaga assembly segment — may play a pivotal role in Singla’s election campaign.

At the time of Singla’s show of strength during the filing of his nomination papers, four congress MLAs — Kewal Singh Dhillon, Arvind Khanna, Harchand Kaur and Mohd Sadiq — and former Malerkotla MLA Razia Sultana were conspicuous by their absence, where as Batthal was the lone big figure from the state Congress who had addressed the gathering.

All these leaders are said to have personal grudges with Singla, who has been accused of being “high headed” and “disrespectful towards party seniors”.

Kewal Dhillon was one to the contenders for the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat.

Singla is facing tough challenge from Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) heavyweight Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and celebrity-turned-Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Bhagwant Mann.

Having sensed trouble on the party’s front that may amplify his troubles, Singla was trying to take Amarinder’s support to get the support of his loyalist leaders in the Sangrur constituency.

Earlier too, Captain had rescued Singla when he stopped former Dirba MLA Surjit Dhiman from contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Sangrur as an Independent.

In a statement issued by Singla’s of fice here on Wednesday, he claimed that he had made the statement in response to the Akali’s statements that the Congressmen not seeing eye to eye with each other.

However, as a matter of fact, in the statement, Singla categorically tried to appease Captain, saying: “Captain Amarinder Singh has been my political mentor. I have learned the rope of public services initially from my late father Sant Ram Singla and thereafter it was the Maharaja of Patiala who stood by me in my political career and I owed a lot to him in life.”

“Where is the question of working against each other in Patiala and Sangrur? We are a family,” reads the statement.

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