Ticket allotment in Jalandhar Cantonment constituency has become a hard nut to crack for the Congress, with both former Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Pargat Singh, a new entrant in the party, and ex-MLA Jagbir Brar, a close associate of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Captain Amarinder Singh, adamant on contesting the seat.
As Pargat has reportedly secured a “promise” from the Congress high command that he will be fielded from the seat, Brar, who has hardly been nurturing this segment for the past five years, was on Tuesday called by Amarinder to Delhi to convince him to contest from the adjoining Nakodar seat.
However, sources close to Amarinder said Brar has categorically denied shifting his political base to any other seat in Punjab.
“Brar has urged the PPCC chief not to give any such commitment to the party high command that he (Brar) could contest from Nakodar, saying he would not leave Cantonment seat at any cost. Brar has also signalled that if he won’t get ticket, he is ready to contest as Independent too,” they added.
PARGAT LIKELY TO GET TICKET
Though in the given scenario, Pargat is almost set to get the Congress ticket from Jalandhar Contonement, sources said Captain is making his best efforts to secure the seat for Brar, one of his trusted aides.
Brar, when contacted, admitted that he has conveyed his feelings to the party high command.
“I cannot leave Jalandhar Cantonment as I have been active in this constituency for the past more than 15 years. Moreover, I have stood with the people of this segment when SAD leaders were torturing the Congress workers. There is no question of leaving this seat, come what may. A win or lose doesn’t matter for me,” Brar said, while admitting his meeting with some “senior leaders” in Delhi.
Pargat, however, maintained that contesting from Jalandhar Cantonment was his condition before joining the Congress. “I resigned from the SAD because people of this area stood by me in my fight against that party. There is no question of leaving them. If Brar goes to Nakodar, we all will work together to ensure his win,” said Pargat.
Sources close to Pargat disclosed that Jagbir was even shown results of party surveys by the Captain group to convince him to shift to another seat.
“Even Pargat admits that there must have been some anti-incumbency against him as a SAD MLA. But his contention is that AAP and SAD candidates, HS Walia and Sarbjeet Makkar respectively, are not on a strong footing, both being from Urban Sikh community, while he stands way ahead of them, being a Jat Sikh. The Jat Sikh community is major constituent of the electorate in the segment,” a senior PPCC functionary said.
BRAR TO CONTEST AS INDEPENDENT?
There are enough indications from the Brar camp that if denied ticket, the ex-MLA is sure to contest as an Independent and his team has even started assessing the ground.
“Pargat faces heavy anti-incumbency and questions are being raised over his performance as MLA. SAD nominee Makkar is not even able to unite his party workers because of his controversial image. The AAP candidate is being opposed by the senior party volunteers. These conditions will go in favour of Brar if he contests the seat as an Independent,” a close aide of Brar said.