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Raja Warring To Take On ‘Deserter’ Ravneet Singh ‘Bittu’, As Cong Names 4 More LS Candidates From Punjab


Releasing a fresh list of four party candidates from Punjab, the Congress high command has put its state party president Amrinder Singh Brar ‘Raja Warring’ through an acid test by fielding him from Ludhiana constituency against two time running party MP Ravneet Singh ‘Bittu’, who caused a huge embarrassment to the party by deserting it and joining the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

With this the party has named candidates to 12 of the 13 parliamentary constituencies in the state, leaving its options for Ferozepur seat still open.

Others named in the list released on Monday (29.04.2024) are former Punjab deputy chief minister and three times running Dera Baba Nanak MLA, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa from Gurdaspur; former Sangrur Lok Sabha member and ex-cabinet minister Vijay Inder Singla from Anandpur Sahib; and former Zira MLA Kulbir Singh Zira from Khadoor Sahib, replacing incumbent party MP Jasbir Singh Gill ‘Dimpa’, who had opted out of the race, preferring to concentrate on state politics.

Immediately after the announcement of his candidature from Ludhiana, Raja Warring took to X (formerly Twitter) to attack Ravneet Singh Bittu without naming him. While expressing his readiness to “embark on another battle after my party leadership posed confidence in me to contest from Ludhiana”, he commented, “Those individuals, once entrusted with responsibilities and showered with support by the party, turned out to be deserters.”

The three-times running MLA from Gidderbaha assembly segment, which falls under Faridkot parliamentary constituency, and former cabinet minister further said, “First, it was against the power of the Badals in Bathinda, and now it’s against these deserters. Counting on the unwavering support of the people of Ludhiana.”

Raja Warring had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Bathinda against former Union minister and then two time incumbent MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), giving her a good fight. The latter had won a third straight term in the Lok Sabha by a margin of less than 22,000 votes.

The other candidates from major parties in the fray are Ludhiana (central) MLA Ashok Prashar (Pappi) of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and ex-MLA Ranjit Singh Dhillon of the SAD.

Raja Warring To Take On ‘Deserter’ Ravneet Singh ‘Bittu’, As Cong Names 4 More LS Candidates From Punjab, Lifeinchd
Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa

Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, named the party candidate from Gurdaspur, is contesting Lok Sabha elections for the first time.

A four-time MLA from Dera Baba Nanak assembly segment which falls under the Gurdaspur parliamentary constituency, Randhawa, who was elevated from the post of cabinet minister to deputy chief minister after the party high command decided to replace Capt Amarinder Singh with Charanjit Singh Channi as Punjab Chief Minister months ahead of the March 2022 assembly elections in the state, is up against former Vidhan Sabha deputy speaker and three-times MLA from Sujanpur assembly segment Dinesh Singh ‘Babbu’ of the BJP.

Gurdaspur has been a stronghold of the BJP as part of its now broken long standing alliance with the SAD. Film star, late Vinod Khanna had won the seat four times in 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2014, and Sunny Deol is the party’s incumbent MP. In between though, Pratap Singh Bajwa of the Congress won the seat in 2009 and Sunil Jakhar, then with the Congress won a by-election necessitated by Vinod Khanna’s death in 2017. After switching over to the BJP, Jakhar is now state party president of the saffron party.

The other candidates in the fray from Gurdaspur are Batala MLA Amansher Singh ‘Sherry’ Kalsi of the ruling AAP and senior SAD leader and former cabinet minister Daljit Singh Cheema.

Cheema, who represented Rupnagar assembly segment, falling under Anandpur Sahib parliamentary constituency, from 2012-2017, and became Education minister in the SAD-BJP government led by Prakash Singh Badal, had earlier unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections in 2009 from Anandpur Sahib constituency, and had lost to then rookie Congress  candidate and assassinated Punjab chief minister Beant Singh’s grandson Ravneeet Singh ‘Bittu’.

Cheema’s home village by the same name falls in Gurdaspur parliamentary constituency.

Raja Warring To Take On ‘Deserter’ Ravneet Singh ‘Bittu’, As Cong Names 4 More LS Candidates From Punjab, Lifeinchd
Vijay Inder Singla

Moving to the Anandpur Sahib constituency, Vijay Inder Singla, who has been named the party candidate, has represented the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat in 2009-2014, though in the next election in 2014 he lost badly to the current Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann. In 2017, he won the Sangrur assembly seat and became a cabinet minister in the Capt Amarinder Singh led Congress government. He however, lost the seat by a big margin in the AAP wave which swept the state in 2022 assembly elections.

This is the second time in recent times that the Congress has moved former MPs from other constituencies to Anandpur Sahib. In 2019, former MP from Ludhiana Manish Tewari was fielded from this constituency, and he won. He has finally been granted the party ticket from Chandigarh, his birth place, to which he had been staking claim all along.

Singla is up against veteran SAD leader Prem Singh Chandumajra, who won the seat in 2014 but lost in 2019 to Manish Tewari.

For the ruling AAP, its spokesperson and former senior student leader Manvinder Singh Kang is in the race.

The BJP’s search for a suitable candidate to field from Anandpur Sahib is continuing.

Raja Warring To Take On ‘Deserter’ Ravneet Singh ‘Bittu’, As Cong Names 4 More LS Candidates From Punjab, Lifeinchd
Kulbir Singh Zira

Kulbir Singh Zira, the candidate named by the Congress from Khadoor Sahib, replacing incumbent party MP Jasbir Singh Gill (Dimpa), is a former MLA (2017-2022) from Zira assembly segment of the parliamentary constituency. However, he lost badly in the 2022 assembly elections, finishing third behind the AAP, which swept the polls, and the SAD.

He will face a formidable challenge from cabinet minister Laljit Singh Bhullar of AAP and senior SAD leader and two-time MLA – from Valtoha and Khem Karan – Virsa Singh Valtoha. The BJP has fielded its Amritsar District (Rural) President Manjit Singh ‘Manna’ Mianwind, who has been a three-time MLA during his earlier innings with the SAD.














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