PM's brother seeks ticket for Punjab polls

However, Punjab CM says that he will be treated like any other aspirant whose candidature will be assessed on his elective merit, reports Saroj Nagi.

india Updated: Jan 05, 2007 23:08 IST
Saroj Nagi

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's younger brother Surjit Singh Kohli has sought a ticket to contest next month's Assembly elections.

"Yes, he wants a party nomination. But he will be treated like any other aspirant whose candidature will be assessed on his elective merit," Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said.

Amarinder was in Delhi along with Pradesh Congress Committee chief SS Dullo to brief Central leaders on the party's preparations and prospects for the polls.

In Amritsar, Kohli said that he intends to contest the Assembly election from any constituency but has not received any positive indication either from the Congress High Command or from his brother so far.

"Unless I receive a positive signal from them, everything is uncertain with regard to my participation in the polls," he said.

Asked for the AICC's reaction to Kohli's desire to contest, Janardhan Dwivedi, the general secretary in charge of Punjab, said, "If he has applied, let the PCC consider it. The Screening Committee and the Central Election Committee will then look into it," he said.

The state unit, which has received over 600 applications for the 117 Assembly seats, will make its list of candidates by January 10, said Dullo.

Kohli, by his own admission, is not even a primary member of the party. But, as AICC treasurer Motilal Vora said, a person who the local unit thinks would make a good candidate can be made an active member of the party while being allotted a ticket.

Ruling out his son Raninder's candidature in the polls, Amarinder claimed that the Congress would get a majority in the polls. "Mark my words, we will get 78 seats," he said.

The chief minister claimed that the party would gain from BJP's disarray, the controversies surrounding the Badal family and the four-way split in the BSP following Kanshi Ram's death. To dilute incumbency, he intends to deny tickets to some sitting MLAs though he refused to put a figure to it.

The Punjab leaders said that while the prime minister would begin his campaign in late January, Sonia will hold two meetings in the Malwa region in February and also address rallies in the Majha and Doaba regions.

And to ensure that the secular vote is not divided, the PCC chief urged the CPI and the CPM not to form a third front in the state.

After the Punjab leaders, it was the turn of Uttarakhand Chief Minister ND Tiwari and PCC chief Harish Rawat to brief the AICC leaders on the poll scenario in their state.

Manipur Chief Minister Ibobi Singh also arrived in Delhi will a similar mission.

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First Published: Jan 05, 2007 23:08 IST