Rebel AAP Leader Khaira to Contest From Bathinda, SAD Fields Ex LS Dy Speaker CS Atwal From Jalandhar
Khaira who might possibly take on Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal of the SAD and state finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal from Bathinda, asked them to 'not waste public money and sit down with him for a debate and let the people decide.'
Sukhpal Singh Khaira. (Facebook)
Chandigarh: Rebel Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA and former leader of opposition in Punjab Assembly, Sukhpal Singh Khaira announced his candidature from the Bathinda Lok Sabha constituency on Saturday. Khaira said he will be contesting under the newly-formed People’s Democratic Alliance.
Khaira’s party, Punjab Ekta Party (PEP) is a part of the alliance. Besides, this ‘third front’ in Punjab has Lok Insaaf Party (LIP) of the Bains brothers- Balwinder Singh and Simarjeet Singh- and the BSP unit of Punjab under its fold.
Declaring his candidature during a press conference in Chandigarh, Khaira accused the ruling Congress in the state to be in cahoots with the BJP.
Khaira who might possibly take on Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal of the SAD and state finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal from Bathinda, though no formal announcements have been made by the two parties yet. Meanwhile, Khaira asked them to “not waste public money and sit down with him for a debate and let the people decide.”
Khaira was flanked by AAP’s rebel MLAs Kanwar Sandhu, Master Baldev Singh and Nazar Singh Manshahia among others.
Rebel AAP MP Dharam Vir Gandhi, who was also present on the occasion, exhorted all the PDA members to work towards ensuring Khaira’s victory from Bathinda.
Meanwhile, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) on Saturday declared that former deputy speaker of the 14th Lok Sabha Charanjit Singh Atwal would be contesting on a party ticket from the Jalandhar constituency. Atwal has also been the speaker of Punjab Assembly before. The seat is currently represented by Congress’ Santokh Singh Chaudhary.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) has already announced the candidature of Bibi Jagir Kaur from the Khadoor Sahib Lok Sabha seat. An Akali citadel, Khadoor Sahib has voted in favour of SAD candidates since 1977, barring 1992.
The seat is currently represented by Ranjit Singh Brahmpura who last year fell out with the SAD leadership over the issues of Akal Takht’s pardon to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and mishandling of the Bargari sacrilege episode by the previous Parkash Singh Badal government.
Brahmpura has since floated his own outfit- the Shiromani Akali Dal (Taksali) and was joined by former minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan and former MP Rattan Singh Ajnala. The talks for an alliance between the SAD (Taksali) and the Punjab Democratic Alliance (PDA) had recently failed over sharing of seats.
According to sources, SAD (Taksali) and the AAP continue to be in touch with each other for a possible alliance.
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