Family politics continues to dominate the candidate selection process of Congress for Punjab polls with seats going to dynasties and ageing leaders pushing for nominations either for themselves or their wards.
The first two list of Congress candidates for Punjab polls throws up several examples of how families continue to hold their sway in the party with several important segments being retained within a dynasty.
While sitting MLA Preneet Kaur chose to step down from Patiala segment in favour of her husband and Punjab Congress President Amarinder Singh, MLA Charanjit Kaur Bajwa too vacated her Qadian seat for her brother-in-law Fatehjang Bajwa.
Fatehjang Bajwa is the brother of former Punjab Congress chief and incumbent Rajya Sabha MP from Punjab Partap Bajwa.
Likewise, sitting MLA from Nawashahar Guriqbal Kaur Babli stepped down in favour of her son Angad Saini, who bagged the Congress nomination for the seat in the first list.
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In the second list announced on Friday, Congress named Amrik Singh Dhillon, the sitting Samrala MLA, as a candidate from the seat. Dhillon had curiously got both his son and grandson to apply for this seat just in case he falls back in the race.
Another seat where the ticket stands retained within the family is Khem Karan, where the Congress has nominated Sukhpal Singh Bhullar, the younger son of Gurchet Singh Bhullar, a former MLA of Valtoha, as its candidate. Bhullar had been lobbying for this seat to go to his elder son instead.
From Kartarpur reserved segment, the Congress has again banked on the local political family for victory by declaring Surender Singh, the son of its deceased dalit leader Choudhry Jagjit Singh, as the candidate, which the party feels is its “best bet”.
Again in Jandiala SC segment, the Congress has named Sukhwinder Singh Danny, the son of ex-MLA Sardool Singh as a nominee while in Rajkot SC seat, it has replaced sitting MLA GS Boparai with his brother and ex-bureaucrat Amar Singh as a candidate for 2017 polls.
Amar Singh, a Madhya Pradesh cadre IAS officer, was principal secretary to the then CM of the state Digvijay Singh.
In many other segments, senior Congress leaders and sitting MLAs have pitched for their wards. From Lehra for example, sitting Congress MLA and former Punjab Chief Minister Rajinder Bhattal was re-nominated in the first list even though she had lobbied for the nomination of her son Rahul.