Punjab polls: Unhappy with Dera Bassi candidate, 60 local leaders resign in protest

The leaders, who had sought that Mukesh Gandhi, a veteran BJP leader, be picked for the Dera Bassi ticket, have handed over their resignations to district BJP president Sushil Rana
BJP’s pick Sanjeev Khanna, 57, has been a state executive committee member of BJP’s Punjab unit since December 2020, apart from being an RSS activist. (HT Photo)
BJP’s pick Sanjeev Khanna, 57, has been a state executive committee member of BJP’s Punjab unit since December 2020, apart from being an RSS activist. (HT Photo)
Published on Jan 24, 2022 03:25 AM IST
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By, Mohali

Two days after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) declared Sanjeev Khanna as its candidate from the Dera Bassi constituency for the Punjab assembly elections, over 60 local leaders on Sunday resigned to protest against his candidature.

The leaders, who had sought that Mukesh Gandhi, a veteran BJP leader, be picked for the Dera Bassi ticket, have handed over their resignations to district BJP president Sushil Rana.

They include mandal presidents, state executive members, district executive members, and members of the Kisan BJP cell, BC morcha, SC morcha, kisan morcha, yuva morcha, minority morcha and Uttarakhand cell morcha.

A realtor based in Dera Bassi, Sanjeev Khanna, 57, has been a state executive committee member of BJP’s Punjab unit since December 2020, apart from being an RSS activist.

Shiv Kumar Tony, mandal president, Dera Bassi, who was among those who resigned, said the BJP leadership totally ignored the local leaders before declaring the candidate. “Mukesh Gandhi, who was a deserving candidate, has been left out and the ticket has been given in exchange for money,” he alleged.

Rajeev Sharma, general secretary, BJP, Mohali, who also resigned, said their requests to the high command were completely ignored. “More than 60 local leaders have resigned. We will remain with the BJP, but will not support the candidate,” he said.

Gandhi, a strong contender for the Dera Bassi ticket, said he had been neglected despite being with the BJP since 1985: “I will hold a meeting with my supporters to decide the next course of action.”

Meanwhile, party’s pick Khanna said the resentment among some leaders will be sorted out and the BJP will win the seat with a thumping majority.

Khanna has been fielded against Shiromani Akali Dal’s two-time MLA NK Sharma and Aam Aadmi Party’s Kuljeet Singh Randhawa.

Congress has not nominated its candidate yet, though Deepinder Singh Dhillon, who finished second in the 2017 elections, and Amit Bawa Saini are the frontrunners.

The Dera Bassi assembly constituency has always remained a stronghold of the SAD under former minister late Captain Kanwaljit Singh, with the party triumphing consistently for the past three decades.

NK Sharma won the elections in 2012 and 2017, beating Congress’ Deepinder Singh Dhillon on both occasions.

But in the civic body elections held in February last year, the Congress routed out the SAD from all three civic bodies in the constituency – Dera Bassi, Lalru, and Zirakpur.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Hillary Victor is a Principal Correspondent at Chandigarh. He covers Chandigarh administration, municipal corporation and all political parties.

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