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Punjab civic polls: 24-yr-old medico daughter of rebel in fight against Cong’s women wing chief

The 24-year-old recently cleared her MBBS exams from the local Government Medical College and is awaiting a degree to be formally called a ‘doctor’.

punjab Updated: Dec 16, 2017 10:38 IST
Anil Sharma
Anil Sharma
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Punjab civic polls,Punjab congress,Mamta Dutta
Preeti, independent candidate from Ward 11, during campaign in Amritsar on Friday.(Sameer Sehgal/HT)

Mamta Dutta, the state Congress unit’s women wing president, is locked in a triangular fight in the Amritsar municipal corporation (MC) involving a 24-year-old independent candidate, Preeti, who is not only the daughter of a spurned partyman but also an aberration because she is centring her pitch around being an MBBS graduate, almost.

Preeti, who recently cleared her MBBS exams from the local Government Medical College and is awaiting a degree to be formally called a ‘doctor’, has filed her papers against Dutta from Ward 11 for the December 17 polls.

But it’s not as idealistic as it sounds.

Preeti is the daughter of Arun Kumar, a Congressman who wanted the ticket for his family as he has “served” the party for 10 years in the area. In the door-to-door campaign, Preeti and her father have been seeking votes by terming Dutta as well as BJP’s Vinu Sharma as outsiders. “Mamta Dutta belongs to Chheharta, and Vinu Sharma belongs to Fatehgarh Churian. If either of them wins, it will be difficult for the people of the ward to even find them for routine works,” says Preeti, who goes by one name.

Dutta, who possesses a BA degree, is a former independent member of the MC but lost in 2012 on the Congress ticket. Her nomination as women’s wing chief was supported by Captain Amarinder Singh in May 2016, months ahead of the assembly polls. Dutta, 42, is sister-in-law of former Amritsar mayor Sunil Dutti, who lost the Amritsar East seat in the 2012 assembly polls to BJP’s Navjot Kaur Sidhu.

Preeti insists, “I am well-educated and a permanent resident of the ward. After winning the election, I will be available for the ward’s residents always.” She is not holding rallies, “but reaching people’s homes and using social media”.

The ward has 8,700 voters, most of them from the middle class.

Preeti’s father sees the election as his popularity test. “I will show the party that they took the wrong step by giving the ticket to an outsider, who is anyway already an influential leader of the Congress,” he says.

First Published: Dec 16, 2017 09:16 IST