Shahkot bypoll: AAP fields ex-sarpanch Rattan Singh
Rattan Singh Kakarwal’s name was announced by Punjab unit co-president Balbir Singh in presence of Delhi deputy CM and Punjab affairs in-charge Manish Sisodia.Updated: May 06, 2018 11:34 IST
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Saturday named Rattan Singh, 62, as its candidate for the Shahkot assembly byelection. His name was announced by AAP state unit co-president Balbir Singh in the presence of Delhi deputy chief minister and Punjab affairs in-charge Manish Sisodia at a press conference.
The two leaders announced the candidate after a meeting of MLAs and other party functionaries from across the state. Polling is scheduled to be held on May 28 from 7am and end at 6 pm.
Rattan Singh, who is general secretary of Doaba zonal unit of the AAP, belongs to an influential family of Kakkar Kalan village in Lohian. Besides owning over 100 acres of farm land, his family has a construction business in Dubai which is managed by his son. Singh shuttles between Jalandhar and Dubai frequently.
He is a former sarpanch and zila samiti member. “The candidate was finalised from among six probables shortlisted by a panel of party leaders and volunteers,” said state unit co-president.
The party announced the candidate amid discordant noises over contesting the assembly byelection. A section of AAP leaders was against fighting the May 28 bypoll because of its slim prospects of winning the contest. The AAP candidates had faced crushing defeats in the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha election and municipal polls in the past one year.
“The party should not contest the election. We are a small party that needs to concentrate on building organisational set-up at the grassroots. Our target should be the 2019 Lok Sabha elections instead,” Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann had told HT.
A few other leaders had also voiced their concerns.
However, the party leadership ignored their reservations. “Being the principal opposition party, we cannot stay away and watch from the sidelines. We have to fight the Congress and the SAD,” insisted a party MLA.
The AAP was third with 31% votes during assembly election. It suffered a setback when Amarjit Mehatpur, who was the party candidate, switched sides and joined the SAD a month ago.Sisodia said, “The organisational structure will be strengthened.”