Punjab: Cong Gen Next waiting to jump into poll fray
Chandigarh-The 2019 Lok Sabha elections may turn out be the launch pad for children of some Punjab Congress leaders, with the generation next eyeing party tickets for the May 19 polls.
With the Congress claiming to be in a “firm position” in Punjab, it may not strictly follow the ‘one family, one ticket’ rule which was introduced during the 2017 Assembly elections in the state.
The party has received over 180 applications from ticket aspirants to contest the Lok Sabha polls in Punjab. Maximum applications are for Khadoor Sahib, Anandpur Sahib and Ferozepur seats.
“Winnability is going to be the main factor in giving tickets,” said Asha Kumari, Congress Punjab Affairs in-charge.
Children of several Cabinet ministers, former ministers, MLAs and ex-legislators are among those looking to jump into the poll fray.
Sports Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi’s son, Anumit Hira, is seeking ticket for Ferozepur seat while Health Minister Brahm Mohindra’s son, Mohit, is hoping to contest from Bathinda seat.
Former Union minister and three-time MP Santosh Chaudhary’s daughter Namita is eyeing Hoshiarpur seat.
MLA Harpartap Singh Ajnala’s son Kanwar Partap has applied for ticket from Amritsar seat, while Karanvir Singh, son of former MLA Kewal Dhillon, is looking to contest from Anandpur Sahib seat.
Sodhi said his son has enough political exposure to stake claim to the Ferozepur ticket.
“Anumit is born and brought up here (Ferozepur) and he has been working for the last 20 years in the area. He has enough political exposure and he is a fresh face. He is the member of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee and was also the vice president of Punjab Youth Congress,” he said.
“He deserves this (ticket). I am not asking for a ticket for my son, he is seeking it for himself. Tickets should be given on performance and winnability factors,” the minister added.
The opposition BJP, which has repeatedly accused the Congress of propagating “dynastic politics”, reiterated its charge.
“‘Parivarvaad’ (dynastic politics) is in the genes of the Congress, which is not good for a healthy democracy. The children of Congress leaders seeking tickets clearly shows the political bankruptcy of the party as it does not have leaders to field in elections,” BJP national secretary Tarun Chugh said.
With two months to go for the polling in Punjab, the Congress appears to be in no rush to announce the candidates for the state.
However, it has already made up its mind to give tickets to former Union minister Preneet Kaur, wife of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, from Patiala, sitting MP Sunil Jakhar from Gurdaspur and Ravneet Singh Bittu from Ludhiana, party sources said.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress won three seats in Punjab, the Aam Aadmi Party and the Shiromani Akali Dal got four each and the BJP bagged two.
The parliamentary polls this year will be held in seven phases beginning April 11. Results will be announced on May 23.