Seven Congress ticket aspirants from here appealed to high command to not allow Bikramjit Inder Singh Chahal, son of Bharat Inder Singh Chahal, a close aide of Captain Amarinder Singh and convict former MLA Mangat Rai Bansal to contest elections from Mansa assembly constituency.
In an apparent attack on Bikramjit, Manjit Singh Jhalbuti, a former aide of Jagmeet Brar, who recently returned to Congress party, said: ‘‘The assembly ticket should not be gifted to those candidates who have been parachuted to this region.’’
The party should not ignore the old loyalists and workers who have given their blood and sweat, he told mediapersons here.
Gurpreet Kaur, daughterin-law of former MLA Sher Singh Gagowal and a Congress candidate in the last assembly election from Mansa, chose to attack Bikramjit directly and said: ‘‘He is an outsider and this is a sensitive matter to us.”
To stake his claim over the ticket, Bikramjit has spent about one crore on the district through his Chahal Welfare Trust which offers free educational and health services. The trust has also opened three gymnasiums in the district.
NO MANGAT BANSAL TOO
The candidates also disapproved of former MLA Mangat Rai Bansal aspiring for the election ticket. In recent months, Bansal has been trying to garner support for himself and meeting senior party leaders in this regard. In July, Bansal held a rally in Budhlada on the day Patiala MLA Preneet Kaur had organised a party meeting.
“Bansal has met Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday at his residence and he has been bargaining ticket for his family member as he himself cannot contest the election,” said one of the candidates who participated in the meeting.
Jaswant Singh Phaphre said offering ticket would only create resentment within the party and severely damage its clean image. “If the party goes ahead with either of these candidates, we will obviously support them, but the party will miss the votes,” said Sanjogpreet Singh Davy.
Last year, Mangat Rai Bansal had planned to join the Congress at the Bathinda rally which was held to mark the elevation of Captain Amarinder Singh as the president of Punjab Congress. However a day before the rally, Captain Amarinder categorically mentioned on his Facebook page that Bansal would not be allowed to join the party at his rally due to his tainted past.
Bansal had won the 2007 assembly poll from Budhlada in Mansa on a Congress ticket. In 2012, he lost to Janmeja Singh Sekhon of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) from Maur. In September 2012, Bansal joined the SAD. He quit the SAD last year in protest against sacrilege incidents.
Bansal was convicted by CBI court in Patiala in 2013 along with 23 others. All were accused of playing a role in the procurement and supply of substandard paddy. However, Bansal was granted bail the same year.