The political scenario in Ludhiana has taken an interesting turn with Congress declaring Ravneet Bittu as its Lok Sabha candidate on Tuesday.
In response, rival parties, including Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), have termed Bittu as a parachute candidate. However, Congress cadres are unanimously contesting the claims to establish the candidate's connection with Ludhiana.
A group of Congressmen, including MLAs Suriner Dawar and Rakesh Pandey, while taking the SAD head on, stated, "Ravneet's connection to Ludhiana dates back to 1975, as he was born in Kotli village near Payal in Ludhiana district. It was the native village of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh. If Bittu is a parachute candidate, then no politician in Ludhiana can authenticate his or her connection to the constituency."
Bittu's father Sukhwant Singh was the younger among the two sons of Beant, but after his untimely death, Bittu and his brother, Gurkirat Kotli, Congress MLA from Khanna assembly constituency, were adopted by their uncle, Swaranjit Singh, the elder son of Beant.
Having spent his early childhood in Ludhiana, Bittu went on to complete his schooling in Guru Nanak Public School, Chandigarh.
A graduate in computer applications, Ravneet was handpicked by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. He contested against SAD candidate Daljit Singh Cheema and defeated him by 67,204 votes.
Giving further details, Amarjit Singh Tikka, a close aide of Beant, said Ravneet was not new to the constituency, as he covered its every corner in 1996, when his grandmother, late Jaswant Kaur, the widow of Beant Singh, contested Lok Sabha elections from Ludhiana against SAD candidate Amrik Singh Aliwal."
Soon after Beant Singh's assassination, Bittu was offered the DSP rank in Punjab Police, which he declined citing his passion to pursue politics as the reason.
The district unit of the party has called a meeting at Congress Bhawan at 10.30am on Thursday to discuss further plan of action.