With the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) fielding a parachute candidate from Bathinda rural assembly segment and shifting constituencies of two of its sitting MLAs, it is going to be a tough task for the candidates to build up base in their new areas in less than two months ahead of the assembly elections.
In Friday’s list, the SAD announced Amit Rattan, a mechanical engineer, and a novice, as its candidate from the Bathinda urban constituency, and shifted the sitting MLA from Bathinda rural, Darshan Singh Kotfatta, to Malout. Likewise, Malout MLA Harpreet Singh Kotbhai will be the SAD candidate from Bucho constituency.
The move of fielding Amit Rattan came as a surprise for the SAD unit of Bathinda rural constituency, as the party chose Rattan, once a Congress ticket aspirant from Shutrana constituency in Patiala district, over its former MP Paramjit Kaur Gulshan, who had been looking after SAD affairs as the constituency in-charge for the past over one year.
Rattan, who is now settled in Patiala, is husband of 2007-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanmeet Kaur, posted as assistant inspector general (AIG, crime) in Punjab and claims Kotfatta in Bathinda district as his ancestral village.
“I carried extensive activities in Shutrana constituency through my NGO named the Asees Foundation for over two years and even applied for the Congress ticket, but Captain Amarinder Singh did not recognise my work,” said Rattan.
Meanwhile, he was baffled when asked about his proximity with the SAD.
He added that Bathinda is not new for him as his family owned ancestral house in Kotfatta village, now falls in his constituency.
“My father’s NGO, Global Sahit Sabha, is carrying out activities in and around Bathinda, which would help to come up with better contacts. I will start meeting Akali workers and leaders from the next week, before strategising my poll campaign,” said Rattan, who owns a hydel project in Himachal Pradesh.
When contacted, former MP Paramjit Kaur Gulshan said following the party directions, she worked extensively in Bathinda rural constituency for over two years with extreme dedication.
“I have no problem with the SAD fielding a new candidate from Bathinda urban as now the party has deployed me to see party activities in the Chamkaur Sahib constituency,” she said.
TWO SITTING MLAs TO SHIFT THEIR BASE
Sitting MLA from Bathinda rural, Darshan Singh Kotfatta, shifted his base to Bucho Mandi two years ago, but now the party has fielded him as its candidate from entirely a new constituency, Malout, in Muktsar district.
Eyeing ticket from Bucho Mandi, Kotfatta was looking after party activities in the area, but has started making strategies to start from the scratch in Malout.
“A party like the SAD has already a strong base in Malout, and I only needed to increase contact with SAD workers. I am the party’s soldier and ready to fight from wherever the SAD deployed me as party candidate,” he said.
In the 2012 assembly elections, Kotfatta won by 5,308 votes against Congress candidate Makhan Singh.
Another sitting MLA from Malout, Harpreet Singh, is now a SAD candidate from the Bucho Mandi assembly segment in Bathinda district. In 2012, he got better of the Congress’ Nathu Ram with 2,554 votes.
“Though I am new to the constituency, but SAD workers were already carrying out party activities in Bucho Mandi. Moreover, I am yet to wind up work in Malout, before I start campaigning in the new area,” he said.