Congress in Punjab may well have finalised candidates for the Jan
30 assembly elections based on the ability to win but, with
numerous family members in the fray, the list is an embarrassing
giveaway -- 'relatively' speaking, of course.
From the son of state Congress president Amarinder Singh, Raninder
Singh, to Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Rajinder Kaur
Bhattal's son-in-law, Vikram Singh Bajwa, several relatives of
important politicians figure in the list of 114 candidates
announced late Thursday night for the state's 117 assembly seats.
Most relatives of Congress leaders in the fray are first-timers.
Congress MPs from Punjab seem to have got a lion's share as far as
seats for close relatives are concerned.
Gurdaspur Lok Sabha MP Pratap Singh Bajwa has managed a Congress
ticket for the Qadian assembly seat in Gurdaspur district for his
wife Charanjit Kaur Bajwa.
The Lok Sabha MP from Jalandhar, Mohinder Singh Kaypee, has got
the Jalandhar-West (reserved) seat for his wife, Suman Kaypee.
Hoshiarpur MP Santosh Chaudhary's husband, Ram Lubhaya, who had
lost the 2007 assembly election, has again been fielded from the
Sham Churasi (reserved) seat in Hoshiarpur district.
Besides being former chief minister Amarinder Singh's son,
Raninder Singh, who has been fielded from the Samana seat in
Patiala district, is also the son of Patiala Lok Sabha seat MP and
union minister of state for external affairs, Preneet Kaur.
Another Amarinder Singh relative, Arvind Khanna, also one of his
closest aides, is the Congress candidate from the Dhuri seat in
Sangrur district. Khanna had been charge-sheeted by the Central
Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a Delhi court in a foreign
exchange scandal earlier this year.
Bhattal's son-in-law has been fielded by the party from the
Sahnewal seat in Ludhiana district.
Gurkirat Singh Kotli, who is the Congress candidate from the
Khanna seat, is the grandson of former chief minister Beant Singh
and son of former minister Tej Prakash Singh. He is also a cousin
of Anandpur Sahib MP Ravneet Singh Bittu.
Gurkirat Singh was an accused in the molestation case of a French
woman in Chandigarh in 1992.
Former state Congress president Shamsher Singh Dullo's wife,
Harbans Kaur Dullo, a former legislator, has been fielded from the
Bassi Pathana (reserved) seat.
Muktsar candidate Karan Kaur Brar is the daughter-in-law of former
chief minister Harcharan Singh Brar and wife of legislator Sunny
Aman Arora, son of former minister Bhagwan Dass Arora, has been
fielded from the Sunam seat.
Former Lok Sabha speaker Balram Jakhar's son, Sunil Jakhar, is
again the Congress candidate from the Abohar seat.
Two brothers, Santokh Singh (Phillaur) and Jagjit Singh (Kartarpur),
also figure again in the Congress list. Santokh Singh's son,
Vikramjit Singh, is the state Youth Congress president.
Then there is Ripjit Brar, the brother of senior Congress leader
Jagmeet Singh Brar, has been fielded from the Kotkapura seat in
(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at email@example.com)