Lok Sabha election: Parminder Dhindsa is Akali Dal pick from Sangrur
The Shiromani Akali Dal on Friday announced former finance minister and Lehra MLA Parminder Singh Dhindsa as its candidate from Sangrur, a month after he reportedly expressed his reluctance to contest the election. He has taken the plunge against his father Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa’s advice not to contest the Lok Sabha polls as the “atmosphere is not right”.
Parminder will face sitting MP and Aam Aadmi Party state president Bhagwant Mann, who had defeated Dhindsa Sr in the 2014 polls, while the Congress is yet to announce its candidate.
Rajya Sabha MP Dhindsa Sr had quit all party in September 2018 as he was not happy with the functioning of the party. He had openly held SAD president Sukhbir Badal responsible for the turmoil in the party and even demanded his resignation.
Parminder, a five-time MLA and two-time minister in the SAD-BJP government, is the Akali Dal’s best bet from Sangrur. His father was a member of Parliament from Sangrur. Dhindsa family has a strong political clout in the constituency, which once was dominated by late CM Surjit Singh Barnala’s family, which has now faded into political oblivion.
Soft-spoken Parminder Dhindsa had defeated Congress stalwart and former CM Rajinder Kaur Bhattal from Lehra constituency by a margin of 28,000 votes in 2017 assembly elections, when most of SAD heavyweights lost by huge margins in the Malwa belt. He has won all elections in his political career. Before shifting to Lehra, Parminder had represented Sunam for four terms, which he first won in the 2000 by-election. He was the finance minister in the previous SAD-BJP government, following the exit of Manpreet Badal.
“There was no other suitable candidate. Parminder showed reluctance initially, but Sukhbir persuaded him that he needs him at this juncture. Thus, despite opposition of his father, Parminder decided to jump into the poll fray for the party. Dhindsa family has a personal rapport among the voters of all nine assembly segments of Sangrur Lok Sabha seat,” said a SAD leader privy to the development.
Talking to mediapersons, Parminder said that he will put in his best efforts to win the election.
Meanwhile, Dhindsa Sr said “though I had advised him not to contest, but Parminder has decided to take the plunge. He remained a minister and has enough political experience to take his own decisions. As a father, my best wishes are always with him”.
He said he had already clarified that he wont campaign for anyone, as his health doesn’t allow him to venture out for canvassing.