PATIALA: Finding the right candidate for the election from Fatehgarh Sahib seat has turned into a challenge for the Congress, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
In 2014, AAP‘s Harjinder Singh Khalsa defeated Congress‘s Sandhu Singh Dharamsot by 54,144 votes. SAD candidate Kulwant Singh had bagged 3.13L votes to finish third. Soon after polls, AAP suspended Khalsa, citing “anti-party activities”. The party and the MP have not mended fences since. This time, Khalsa may fight on a ticket of ‘s Punjabi Ekta Party (PEP). This is because of three reasons: one, AAP has suspended Khalsa; two, his former party SAD is not willing to induct him; and, three, he refuses to join the Congress.
SAD may field two-time MP , who lost from Faridkot in 2014 to AAP‘s Sadhu Singh. Lok Sabha former deputy speaker ‘s name is also doing the rounds. SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema said the party was yet to decide.
AAP might field Justice Zora Singh, who chaired a commission set up in 2015 to probe sacrilege incidents and joined the party in December last year. Party insiders said his candidature from a religiously important seat might help the party as SAD‘s influence had weakened among panthic voters. In Congress, former MLA Mohim has already staked claim to the ticket. One Gurpal Singh Goldy, who is said to be close to New Moti Bagh Palace, is also vying for the ticket. The Congress is also deliberating on MLAs Lakhvir Singh Lakha and Gurpreet Singh GP. A source in the party said the high command might also consider cabinet minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, who has won thrice from Amloh and twice from Nabha assembly constituencies. Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar said they were out to district and block-level office-bearers and workers to get feedback on candidates and carrying out a survey through the party‘s Shakti app to assess the winnability of candidates.