This reserved seat has an interesting mix | punjab | Hindustan Times
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This reserved seat has an interesting mix

In this reserved seat, the race for ticket among the political parties is getting interesting as the Akalis are looking for a candidate who can defeat Akali-turned Congressman and sitting MP Sukhdev Singh Libra, while some Congressmen, also in race for the ticket, are trying hard to destabilise him.

punjab Updated: Feb 16, 2014 00:01 IST
Vishal Rambani

In this reserved seat, the race for ticket among the political parties is getting interesting as the Akalis are looking for a candidate who can defeat Akali-turned Congressman and sitting MP Sukhdev Singh Libra, while some Congressmen, also in race for the ticket, are trying hard to destabilise him.


With Libra turning 81, it has raised the number of aspirants for the Congress ticket from the reserved seat.

The main contender for the Congress ticket is former PPCC president Shamsher Singh Dullo, who had lost to Libra in the 2004 polls and was in race for the Congress ticket in 2009, when the party rewarded Libra for supporting the Congress on the Atomic Energy Bill in the Lok Sabha.

Though Dullo could not defeat the once Akali Libra in the polls, he wants to avenge that by seeing to it that Libra is denied the ticket this time.

Former PPCC president Dullo, who has lost thrice and won once, is already posing as a candidate in the area. However, as his wife had lost the election from Bassi Pathana seat, one of the nine assembly segments of the Lok Sabha constituency, his rivals will not let him get a ticket, by citing his defeats.

Though the age is not on Libra’s side, he is still the best bet for the Congress. In the new-generation leaders, Ludhiana (rural) president Lakhwinder Singh Lakha and Nabha MLA Sadhu Singh Dharamsot are the contenders, though some speculate the candidature of Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar.

Amid this race, former IAS officer Amar Singh can emerge as a dark horse with the backing of AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh. Amar, who served as principal secretary to Digvijaya in the 2012 elections, had secured a ticket for his brother Gurcharan Singh, who was elected MLA from Raikot (Ludhiana), an assembly segment of the Fatehgarh Sahib seat. Amar, after retirement, is currently working in the AICC to monitor the implementation of Rahul Gandhi’s key initiatives, including MNREGA.

The Akali Dal is finding it tough to beat the Akali-turned Congressman; Libra still rules the roost in the area and has proved this by winning the last election, in which despite having shifted loyalties from SAD to Congress, Libra defeated heavyweight candidate and former Lok Sabha deputy speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal.

Despite the defeat of Atwal, who is now speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, the Atwal family is once again eyeing the ticket and is leading the race for the ticket in the Akali Dal. Atwal has increased a lot of activity in the area and in Ludhiana district, as five assembly segments of Ludhiana fall under this Lok Sabha seat.

Anticipating a Modi wave, the speaker wants to contest himself, so that in case of the NDA forming the government, he could extract his pound of flesh in the government, by virtue of being a Dalit leader and his seniority. To avoid such a proposition, the SAD may field his son former MLA Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal.

Apart from Atwals, there are speculations that Sukhbir Badal may field real estate businessman Kulwant Singh. There are speculations that the Akali Dal may field Faridkot MP Paramjit Kaur Gulshan.