PATIALA: The political future of many senior Akali leaders who are trying their luck for one or the other seat is uncertain as many of them are locked in multi-cornered contests.

Nine former ministers Capt Amarinder Singh Capt Kanwaljit Singh Prem Singh Chandumajra Dalip Singh Chandumajra Dalip Singh Pandhi Prem Gupta Narinder Singh Nabha Randhir Singh Cheema Sardara Singh Kohli and Jasdev Singh Sandhu will be locked in electoral battles besides Charanjit Singh Walia a former MP and Sukhdev Singh Libra senior vice-president of the SGPC.

The AISSF has also fielded some of its senior leaders including Gursev Singh Harpalpur and Baldev Dadoa. Prominent among important leaders of other political parties are Mrs Nirmal Pandove state vice president of the BJP Balwant Singh state president of CITU: Dr Ram Gopal and Amritbir Singh Gulati of the Janata Dal and Jit Singh and Hardyal Singh Kamboj of the BSP.

This district which has 10 assembly constituencies in the 117 member state assembly is a uaditional Akali stronghold. It is also the home district of Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Capt Amarinder Singh. The undivided Akali Dal wrested all but the Patiala town seat in the last assembly elections held in September 1985. Almost all former Akali legislators are seeking re-election from their old constituencies except Capt Amarinder Singh who has shifted from Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda district to the Patiala town and Dakala constituencies Sukhdey Singh Libra who captured the Khanna (R) seat has shifted to Amloh(R) reportedly at the instance of Tohra Chandumajra besides seeking re-election from Dakala has also filed his nomination papers from the Rajpura constituency.

Mann’s stakes are high since his party has fielded candidates for all 10 assembly segments and the Patiala parliamentary seat.

The political survival of Capt Amarinder Singh a scion of the erstwhile princely state of Patiala who floated the Akali Dal (Panthic) recently after parting company with Parkash Singh Badal will depend on how his party candidates fare at the hustings. The new party comprises mainly feudal lords and does not have a well-knit organizational base.

The break-up of voters in the assembly constituencies is as under Patiala town (106686) Samana (143478) Banur (109814) Rajpura (115158) Ghanaur (102953) Dakaia (120789) Shutrana (R) (114647) Nabha (120520) Amloh(R)(130017)and Sirhind (119909). “The advantage of the absence of the Congress (I) a strong political rival of the Akali Dal will be divided among the BJP the Communists and other non-Akali parties.

The Mann Badal and Longowal factions of the Akali Dal the AISSF the BSP the Janata Dal and the BJP are contesting almost all constituencies.

As many 28 candidates are in the fray for the Patiala town assembly seat. The main contestants are Sardara Singh Kohli (Akali DalB) Mrs Ravinder Kaur (DalMann) Capt Amarinder Singh (Dal-Panthic) Berinder Bir Singh (AISSF) Mrs Nirmal Pandove (BJP) Narinder Kumar Singla (Janata Party) Amritbir Singh Gulati (Janata Dal) Prem Gupta (Ind) and Ashutosh Gautam supported by the Shiv Sena.

Kohli lost this seat to Brahm Mohindra (Cong-I) a sitting MLA with a margin of 2153 votes in 1985 out of 49641 valid votes Mohindra polled 23087 Kohli 30084 and Mrs Pandove 1883.

In the neighboring Samana constituency Rajla Baldev Singh Lang (Dal-Mann) Sadha Singh (AISSF) Harchand Singh Barsat (Dal-Panthic) Dabara Singh (BSP) Dr Ram Gopal (JD) and Rulda Singh (BJP) are among the 16 candidates who will cross swords

In Banur Capt Kanwaljit Singh (Akali Dal-L) is seeking re-election. Also in the fray are 20 others” including Sukhdev Singh (DalM) Jamail Singh (AISSF) Sham Singh (JD): Dev Raj (RJP) and Bakhsish Ram (BSP);

The Rajpura constituency has the distinction of having 29 candidates more than all other constituencies in the district where Prem Gupta (Ind) is seeking reelection. Although he has been crossing over from one Akali faction to another he has failed to get the ticket from any one of them this time Notable among others are Balwant Singh (CPM) who won this seat in 1980. Mewa Singh (AISSF) Ranjan Lakhanpal (Dal-M) Ram Chand (BJP) Hardyal Singh Kamboj (BSP) and Chandumajra (Dal-B)

A total of 21 candidates are in fray for the Shutrana (R) constimency Dr Satwant Singh Mohi who won his seat as the Akali Dal nominee last time defected to the Akali Dal (Mann) and filed his nomination papers for the Philaur (R) Lok Sabha seat. Prominent among the main contestants are Sulakhan Singh (Dal-M) Gurdev Singh (Dal-B) Chattar Singh (CPI) Baldev Singh Loomba (UCPI) Harbhajan Lal Chicharwala (BSP) and Balbir Singh (JD).

Jasdev Singh Sandhu is trying to retain his seat in the Ghanaur segment as a Dal (Panthic) nominee Prominent among other candidates are Gursey Singh Harpalpur (AISSF) Paramjit Singh (Dai-M) and Dr Bhai Paramjit Singh (BJP).

In Nabha where Navrinder Singh (Dal-P) is trying his luck again 18 candidates including Gukirat Singh (Dal-L): Manjit Singh (Dal-M) Shamsher Singh (AISSF) Madan Lal (BJP) and Paramjit Singh Kainth (BSP) are in the fray.

Besides Dalip Singh Pandhi who won the Amlok (R) seat in the 1980 and 1983 elections 10 other candidates including Sukhdev Singh Libra (Dal-B) Gulzar Singh (Dal-M) and Jit Singh (BSP) will contest this sent.

In Dakala Chandumajra who wrested this seat from Lal Singh (Cong-I) in 1985 is again the Dal (Badal) nominee Others in the fray are Charanjit Singh Walia (Dal-M) Capt Amarinder Singh (Dal-P) Baldev Singh Dadoa (AISSF) Amrik Singh (BSP) Shiv Dyal (BJP) Mrs Gurdarshan Kaur (SJP) and Amrik Singh Sanaur (JD).

Among the 10 candidates for the Sirhind assembly seat are Surjan Singh (Dal-M) Kirpal Singh Libra (Dal-B) who won this seat in 1985 humbling Bir Devinder Singh Aviar Singh (BSP) and Randhir Singh Cheema. It is not yet certain whether the AISSF will select Cheema or Jaswant Singh as its nominee.

Article extracted from this publication >> May 10, 1991