Differences emerged between former agriculture minister Tota Singh and Nihal Singh Wala MLA Rajwinder Kaur Bhagi Ke after both Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLAs organised separate meetings with the winners of the zila parishad and block samiti elections.
Tota Singh and his aides organised a religious function at historical gurdwara Shree Takhtupura Sahib to honour winning candidates of their section, while Bhagi Ke called a meeting with winners at her residence in Bhagi Ke village.
The Punjab assembly elections in 2012 had apparently created differences between both SAD leaders, when Tota Singh's aide Bhupinder Singh Saho Ke was denied ticket from Nihal Singh Wala constituency and Rajwinder Kaur Bhagi Ke was allotted ticket by SAD.
Taking advantage of the rift, 14 Tota Singh's aides, four Congress candidates and a CPI candidate managed to win block samiti elections from Nihal Singh Wala.
Akali MLA Rajwinder Kaur Bhagi Ke alleged that Tota Singh had been interfering in her constituency since the day of allotment of the ticket for assembly polls to her. “Though SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal had asked all the MLAs not to interfere in the constituency of other MLA, Tota Singh is not mending his ways. He had fielded rebel candidates against official candidates of the party from zila parishad zone Patto Hira Singh and Gholia Kalan zone and some zones of block samiti. It is direct violation of discipline of the party,” she alleged.
On the other hand, former agriculture minister Tota Singh admitted that he had been interfering in the constituency. “I have established SAD cadre in last 50 years in Nihal Singh Wala and I have my house, fields and business establishment in the constituency. Why should I not interfere? I have worked hard for many years there,” he added.
In a new turn in the local SAD leadership, a close aide of SAD MLA Rajwinder Kaur, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee member Jagraj Singh Daudhar was also kept out of the celebrations held to mark the victory of the block samiti members who were won with the support of Rajwinder Kaur.
Sources revealed that the picture of the SGPC member was missing from the advertisements of the winning candidates, which were published in Jalandhar-based newspapers on Thursday.