Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), it seems, has finally found a cure for Patiala. The party has prescribed the name of a reputed cardiologist Dr Dharamveer Gandhi to treat the ills of the constituency.
Dr Gandhi, a prominent social figure with a clean image who has recently emerged as a popular figure in the city with his active participation in AAP’s activities, has been termed as a “tough candidate” by the man himself — former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, husband of sitting MP Preneet Kaur.
Even as the Congress has not declared the names of its candidates for the Lok Sabha polls, the re-nomination of three-time MP and the Union Minister Preneet Kaur is a sure thing considering the fact that no one has stake claims for the Patiala seat. Patiala has remained a Congress citadel that the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has not been able to capture despite best efforts in the previous three parliamentary polls. Maharani of erstwhile Patiala royalty Preneet Kaur has remained a formidable candidate for all
Dr Gandhi’s name was announced on Thursday as AAP’s candidate from Patiala parliamentary constituency in party’s second list of 30 candidates. The party had earlier released a list of 20 candidates, in which it named senior advocate HS Phoolka as party candidate for Ludhiana.
During his college days in Amritsar, 65-year-old Dr Gandhi was detained for a month for protesting against emergency in 1977. He has also worked for the rights of labour class and migrants.
It was the Jan Lokpal campaign, initiated by the social activist Anna Hazaare, that inspired this cardiologist-sum-social worker to join AAP that has “given an option to the people to bring a change in the society and also in the country’s political system”, said Dr Gandhi, who is also the party’s media in-charge in Patiala, while talking with The Pioneer.
He said that hundreds of people have enrolled as members and want AAP to contest from Patiala. “We are already holding rallies, conferences, public meetings with different groups and sections of society,” he added.
“The Aam Aadmi party has managed to hold some ground in Patiala which has always been a Congress bastion. In the city area alone, the party has attained huge membership. Moreover, Dharamveer Gandhi is a known name in the city, which may prove to be a tough contestant against Preneet Kaur,” a senior Congress leader said.
With AAP steadily making inroads in the Congress castle, the Akali Dal is yet to zero in on its candidate from the constituency. Against the speculations that the ruling combine may field Amarinder’s brother Malwinder Singh, who quit the Congress “in protest” before 2012 State Assembly elections after denied party ticket from Samana, against his wife Preneet Kaur, the SAD is presently
considering the names of Deepinder Singh Dhillon, Preneet’s one-time close confidant, and Cabinet Minister Surjit Singh Rakhra’s brother Charanjit Singh Rakhra.
Dhillon, who had joined Akali Dal after the Congress denied him a party ticket from Dera Bassi, has a solid support-base in this area; and if fielded, he is expected to upset the political calculations of sitting Congress MP.
On the other hand, after Rakhra, SAD-BJP’s candidate in 2009 Lok Sabha polls, expressed reluctance to contest against Preneet Kaur, his brother Charanjit may be given the party nomination — who has no practical experience of elections.
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