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Kairons' sibling rivalry drags on

Satinder Bains

AMRITSAR, Feb 7: The 35th death anniversary of former Punjab chief minister, late Partap Singh Kairon, which falls on February 8, has once again brought to fore the sharp differences between his two sons, Surinder Singh and Gurinder Singh.

For the third successive year, the two are separately celebrating the anniversary from the respective political platforms of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Congress.

In what turned out to be a Congress show, Gurinder Singh organised a political conference at his Amritsar residence yesterday. While Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Amarinder Singh and other Congress leaders participated in the function, no one from Surinder's family was present.

Surinder Singh too is scheduled to organise a function at Kairon village tomorrow which is also expected to be more or less a political gathering.

Surinder had left the Congress party in 1997 and had backed his son Adesh Partap Singh, who had contested from the Patti Assembly seat on SAD ticket. He had also opposed his brother, a Congress candidate for the Tarn Taran Parliament seat, in 1997. In order to prevent a clash between their supporters while they paid tributes at Kairon's tomb, prohibitory orders had been issued in the village.

In an effort to retain the ticket for the Tarn Taran Parliament seat in the family, Surinder Singh may either himself contest the polls or leave the field open for his daughter-in-law Parneet Kaur. She is the daughter of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Surinder had lost the Parliament elections, fought on the Congress ticket, in 1996, and this was considered to be the end of his political career.

Adesh, however, has in his short political career, built a considerable clout within the constituency, and is emerging out of his father's shadow. His sobriety and social acceptance stand in sharp contrast to his father's image. Parneet too has built a reputation of being a social and political reformer.

Adesh claims to be the true heir of Kairon's political legacy, and had prevented former PPCC president Rajinder Kaur Bhattal from paying tributes at Kairon's tomb on the plea that no Congressman had remembered Kairon in the last 33 years. Whether he is indeed the true heir is yet to be seen.

Copyright © 1999 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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