Punjab polls: Ex-minister Phillaur, son to quit Cong, will join SAD (Sanyukt)
Former MLA Sarwan Singh Phillaur’s son Damanvir was eyeing the Congress ticket from Phillaur but the party decided to go with Vikramjit Singh Chaudhary, triggering their exit
Former jails minister and six-time former MLA Sarwan Singh Phillaur and his son Damanvir Phillaur have decided to quit the Congress to join the Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa-led Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt) after being denied the ticket in the first list of candidates released on Saturday for the February 14 Punjab assembly elections.
Damanvir was eyeing the Congress ticket from the Phillaur reserved assembly constituency and had been active in the area, but he was ignored as the party decided to field Vikramjit Singh Chaudhary, who was the runner-up of the 2017 elections. Chaudhary had lost to Baldev Singh Khaira of the Shiromani Akali Dal in the previous election.
The father-son duo will be inducted into the SAD (Sanyukt) by its president and Rajya Sabha member Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa on Monday.
The SAD (Sanyukt) is fighting the elections in alliance with the BJP and Capt Amarinder Singh-led Punjab Lok Congress.
Phillaur, a former jails and tourism minister, had joined the Congress from the Shiromani Akali Dal in November 2016 over his “continued neglect” by the Akalis. He had to resign from the Parkash Singh Badal ministry after his son’s name cropped up in the Bhola drug racket.
The former minister is the latest leader to quit the Congress over denial of ticket by the party.
On Sunday, Nimisha Mehta, who was in the race for the ticket from Garhshankar, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after the party opted for former Punjab Youth Congress president Amarpreet Singh Lally. Mehta was being backed by chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi but faced opposition from campaign committee chairman Sunil Jakhar. Rajya Sabha member Ambika Soni also backed Lally, according to party sources.
Earlier, sitting Moga MLA Harjot Kamal Singh jumped ship to the BJP after the Congress leadership decided to field actor Sonu Sood’s sister Malvika Sood Sachar who joined the party a week ago.