Lok Sabha election: Ex-finance minister Parminder decides against father’s advice, agrees to contest from Sangrur
In a meeting of SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal with the party office-bearers last week, Parminder had emerged as the consensus candidate.
In contrast to his father Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa’s advice, ex-finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa has told the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leadership to field him from Sangrur if there was no other suitable candidate.
“I have asked my party chief to weigh the options and if they consider me a worthy candidate, I am ready,” Parminder told HT. On his father’s advice, Parminder said, “I have told my father that if I have to stay in the party, I will have to abide by its decisions.” Sangrur is considered Dhindsas’ stronghold, and Parminder harps on his father’s legacy.
In a meeting of SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal with the party office-bearers last week, Parminder had emerged as the consensus candidate. After getting signals from the party president, Parminder has started spending more time in the constituency and is organising meetings with the supporters.
Reacting to his son’s decision, Sukhdev Dhindsa said, “I can only advise him (Parminder), now he is to decide”, adding that he was under pressure from the party.
In the 2017 state polls, Parminder got elected from Lehragaga constituency, defeating Congress’ former CM Rajinder Kaur Bhattal. He had shifted the constituency from Sunam where he was elected as an MLA four times in 2000, 2002, 2007 and 2012. Dhindsa Senior was elected to Lok Sabha from Sangrur twice and was nominated to Rajya Sabha twice.
Parminder’s father once number two in the party, resigned from the post of party’s secretary general citing health reasons. A day after, three senior leaders of the party Lok Sabha MP Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, former MP Rattan Singh Ajnala and former minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan openly dissented against the party leadership. They later formed a splinter group SAD (Taksali), which is also fielding candidates for the forthcoming polls.
In January, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa fired a direct salvo at SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal, demanding his resignation to “pacify the public anger against the party”.
In case SAD fields Parminder from Sangrur, it will be a litmus test for him as he most likely will have to sail the waters without the blessings of his father, who has nurtured the constituency for decades.
Other claimants for the Akali Dal ticket from Sangrur are former CM late Surjit Singh Barnala’s son Gaganjit Singh Barnala, grandson Simarpartap Singh, and former MLA Iqbal Singh Jhundan.