Akali Dal presents 21 candidates for the first time in Punjab polls
A former Indian Army soldier, who drove a truck full of ammunition to Kargil in 1999 from his unit in Kanpur. A political activist who was named Winnerjit by his parents. They are among the first 21 candidates of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) announced by party chairman Sukhbir Singh Badal for the Punjab assembly elections scheduled for early 2022.
Sukhbir has so far announced 91 candidates for the upcoming ballots as the SAD will fight in alliance with the Bahujan Samaj (BSP) party led by Mayawati. The SAD and BSP will compete for 97 and 20 seats respectively for the election of the Punjab Assembly, which has 117 members.
Of the 25 new faces announced by the SAD to date, 21 will stand for the first time in the legislative elections. This means that more than 27 percent of party candidates would be new candidates.
The majority of the first-time applicants come from families who have been with Akali Dal as part of his base.
Nihal Singh Wala’s Akali candidate, Baldev Singh Manuke is one of them, from Maunke village in Moga district. Baldev said his family has been associated with SAD for a long time.
A former soldier, Baldev, 63, retired in 2003 as Havildar and was aligned by the SAD from the registered caste constituency.
“My family has remained associated with Akali Dal for years. My father Jarnail Singh was a contemporary of [Akali patriarch] Parkash Singh Badal. I am the first in my family to contest Vidhan Sabha’s election, “Baldev said, adding that prior to his promotion as Havildar he” had driven an ammunition truck to Kargil in 1999 from the 11th Infantry Base. slight Sikh in Kanpur where he served ”.
Another first-time Akali contestant is Winnerjit Singh, who will compete from Sangrur. Winnerjit, 46, graduated in Mechanical Engineering and MBA.
He said he had been associated with Akali Dal for 25 years and had served as director of the Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) and vice president of Pepsu Road Transport Corporation ( PRTC) under the previous SAD-led government. These were political appointments.
“During my tenure as PRTC vice president arrears worth 150 crore rupees were paid to employees and 550 new buses were added to the fleet. PRTC’s daily revenue went from Rs 65 lakh in 2015, when I took over, to Rs 1.25 crore in March 2017, ”he said.
Winnerjit, who was appointed vice president of Youth Akali Dal (YAD) in 2004-05, a member of the main committee of YAD in 2011 and a member of the SAD working committee last year, said his father and grandfather father were also associated with the Akali Dal.
Another face is Rajanbir Singh, the Akali candidate of Sri Hargobindpur. He had resigned from the Punjab Fisheries Department to work for SAD in 2018.
Lawyer Satnam Singh Rahi, the SAD candidate for Bhadaur from Barnala district, will also go to the polls for the first time. His grandfather Giani Gurbaksh Singh Rahi was a freedom fighter and executive member of the SGPC. His father Harpal Inder Singh Rahi had been SAD vice-president.
From Khanna, Jasdeep Kaur received the SAD ticket. Her husband, the head of SAD, Yadwinder Singh Yadu, has been convicted in 14 FIRs in several criminal cases. He applied to the High Court of Punjab and Haryana for permission to contest the elections, but his plea was rejected as a result of which his wife received the ticket, which will also be a first in the electoral melee.
Another newcomer to Ludhiana Central constituency is Gurdwara Dukhnivaran Sahib Ludhiana chairman Pritpal Singh. Recently he was arrested by Ludhiana Police for allegedly hurting the feelings of a community by uttering objectionable words.