In what is being seen as the most significant rebellion within the Congress just weeks ahead of the Punjab elections, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s younger brother, Manohar Singh, has declared that he will contest as an independent candidate from the Bassi Pathana constituency.
Mr Singh was denied a ticket from the constituency apparently because of the party’s ‘one family, one ticket’ rule. Mr Channi is yet to react to the announcement. Bassi Pathana falls in the Puaadh cultural region of Punjab and is seen as the home turf of Mr Channi and his community
In its first list of 86 candidates, the Congress on Saturday gave the Bassi Pathana ticket to its sitting legislator Gurpreet Singh GP.
Manohar Singh dubbed the decision of the Congress giving ticket to Gurpreet Singh GP as “injustice” with the people of the constituency and alleged that the sitting legislator was “incapable and ineffective.”
“Several prominent people of Bassi Pathana area have asked me to fight as an independent and I will go by what they have said. There is no chance of going back and I will surely fight the polls,” Manohar Singh told news agency PTI over the phone.
“I will contest as an independent and ensure the defeat of the sitting Congress MLA who has been fielded again,” he was seen telling a gathering of supporters in a video.
Mr Singh had in August last year resigned as a senior medical officer from the Kharar civil hospital.
He said he decided to contest as an independent after meeting several councillors, village sarpanch and panch who asked him to fight the polls.
“People told me it was wrong to give the ticket to him (Gurpreet Singh GP). He had earlier not done anything and now he has again been foisted upon,” said Mr Singh, adding that he will talk to his brother Mr Channi and explain his decision.
Last year, Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu had inaugurated the poll office of Gurpreet Singh GP at Bassi Pathana constituency.
Voting for Punjab’s 117 assembly seats will be held on February 14 and counting will take place on March 10.