SAD fields Harsimrat from Bathinda, ex-Cong MP Kaypee is Jalandhar pick - Hindustan Times
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SAD fields Harsimrat from Bathinda, ex-Cong MP Kaypee is Jalandhar pick

Apr 23, 2024 07:28 AM IST

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Monday announced the names of candidates for five more Lok Sabha constituencies in Punjab. During his visit to Jalandhar to induct former Congress MP Mohinder Singh Kaypee, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal announced that his wife and sitting MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal would be the party’s candidate from Bathinda

Jalandhar : The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Monday announced the names of candidates for five more Lok Sabha constituencies in Punjab.

SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal inducting former Congress MP Mohinder Singh Kaypee into the party fold in Jalandhar. (HT photo)
SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal inducting former Congress MP Mohinder Singh Kaypee into the party fold in Jalandhar. (HT photo)

During his visit to Jalandhar to induct former Congress MP Mohinder Singh Kaypee, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal announced that his wife and sitting MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal would be the party’s candidate from Bathinda.

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From Ferozepur, which is represented by Sukhbir, the party has given the ticket to Nardev Singh Bobby Mann.

Ranjit Singh Dhillon will contest from Ludhiana parliamentary constituency, while new entrant Kaypee will be the party candidate from Dalit-dominated Jalandhar Lok Sabha constituency.

Sukhbir announced the candidature of former cabinet minister Sohan Singh Thandal from Hoshiarpur, another reserved parliamentary constituency in Doaba.

The party has fielded Hardeep Singh Saini, a former deputy mayor of Chandigarh, from Chandigarh.

With the new announcements, the SAD has declared candidates from 12 constituencies in Punjab. Sukhbir said the announcement of the Khadoor Sahib candidate will be made soon.

“We are the only regional party fighting against national parties that are playing divisive politics. These parties are hell-bent on creating rifts within communities and creating an atmosphere of communal disharmony,” the SAD president said.

Another jolt to Cong

Earlier in the day, the Congress suffered another jolt when its former member of Parliament Mohinder Singh Kaypee, 67, joined the SAD.

Sukhbir reached Kaypee’s residence in Jalandhar and inducted him into the party in the afternoon. Minutes after his joining, Sukhbir announced that Kaypee would be the party candidate from the Jalandhar reserved Lok Sabha constituency.

Kaypee, a former president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) and three-time MLA, was in touch with Sukhbir for past few days and held multiple closed-door meetings ever since he was denied the ticket by the Congress. He was among the contenders from this Dalit-dominated parliamentary segment but the Congress announced former chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi as its candidate on April 14.

This is the second jolt for the party in the past three days as Karamjit Kaur, the wife of former Congress MP Santokh Singh Chaudhary, snapped ties with the party and joined the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP).

Inducting him into the SAD fold, Sukhbir described Kaypee as a seasoned political leader who holds a reputed image in Doaba politics.

“The SAD campaign gets a major boost with Kaypee’s joining in. It will surely help in strengthening the party in Doaba,” Sukhbir said.

Both Channi and Kaypee are close relatives as Kaypee’s daughter Karishma is married to Channi’s nephew Manraj Singh.

After his joining, Kaypee said both the Congress and the SAD have a history of over 100 years in politics and both the parities have worked for the welfare of the state. “I have chosen the Akali Dal because it is regional party, which made concerted efforts for the welfare of Punjab and Punjabiyat. I have difference of opinions with the Congress and its leaders, who have failed to recognise the contributions made by families associated with the party for decades,” he said.

The SAD had been looking for a suitable candidate having substantial base in the Dalit community both in rural and urban areas, especially after the exit of two-time MLA Pawan Tinu. Tinu was the top contender of the Jalandhar ticket but the party faced the jolt after Tinu switched loyalties to the AAP, which declared him its candidate from Jalandhar.

Cong still in deep slumber: Vikramjit

Reacting to Kaypee leaving the Congress and joining the SAD, Phillaur MLA Vikramjit Singh Chaudhary, son of former Congress MP Santokh Singh Chaudhary, said that the candidature of Charanjit Singh Channi had upset Congress workers in Jalandhar. The party high command needs to wake up from its deep slumber to salvage the sinking ship, he added. On Saturday, Vikramjit’s mother quit the Congress and joined the BJP.

Congress MLA from Jalandhar Cantt Pargat Singh said people should understand that the party can give ticket to only one candidate. “The party has considered Channi’s candidature purely on winnability factors. Be it Kaypee or Vikramjit, they should introspect that the Congress had made them MLAs, MPs and ministers. It is not fight of egos but a fight to save the democracy,” Pargat added.

Three turncoats in the fray from Jalandhar

Three turncoats will contest the Lok Sabha elections from the Jalandhar (reserved) parliamentary constituency. Of the three, two have Congress connection.

Former MP Mohinder Singh Kaypee, who joined the SAD on Monday, was associated with the Congress for past three decades and remained the party’s Punjab unit chief.

BJP candidate Sushil Kumar Rinku joined the AAP last year after snapping ties with the Congress before Jalandhar Lok Sabha by-elections.

The Congress has fielded former chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi, a key Dalit leader, from the segment.

AAP candidate Pawan Kumar Tinu started his political career with the Bahujan Samaj Party before switching to the SAD. He then got elected to the state assembly from Adampur in 2012 and 2017. He also unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Jalandhar on the SAD ticket.

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