Congress MLA from Ludhiana North Rakesh Pandey is the only sitting MLA from Ludhiana who has been kept waiting by the party. Pandey, who has won five elections from his constituency (including a bypoll), is the son of Joginder Pal Pandey, a veteran Congress leader who was shot dead by terrorists in 1987.
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The MLA still has hopes from Captain Amarinder Singh and former CM Rajinder Kaur Bhattal. “Yes, the ticket announcement has been quite delayed, but the ticket from Ludhiana North is mine. I have been assured of this from the high command. Announcement is coming soon,” he says.
However, sources from IPAC team of Prashant Kishor, which held field surveys to get feedback of sitting MLAs, said there was negative feedback from his area. “He is not connecting with workers the way he should. Most of workers do not want a ticket for him this time and there is resentment. So, there are doubts about his ticket,” said a source.
Hemraj Aggarwal of Congress, a local councillor, is also in the race for ticket from Ludhiana North.
But Pandey says “Captain Amarinder Singh will reward him for his hard work and dedication”. “I am proud of carrying on my father’s legacy. After all, who does not carry family’s legacy? Even Rahul Gandhi does. Who would have known who is Rahul Gandhi had he not been from Gandhi clan?” says Pandey.
Even BJP, the ruling SAD’s ally which has Ludhiana North seat in its kitty, is yet to announce its candidate. AAP-LIP combine has named local councillor Randhir Sibia as its candidate from here.
In Ludhiana, which has the maximum 14 seats in the state, Congress is yet to declare candidates for seven, fearing protests.
In Dakha, Major Singh Bhaini might get ticket, but Jassi Khangura, who lost in 2012, can rebel.
From Bains brothers’ turf of Atam Nagar, KK Bawa and Kulwant Sidhu are against giving ticket to “outsider” Kawaljit Karwal who recently hopped from SAD to Congress and was previously Bains’ right-hand man. From Sahnewal, Satinder Bitti might get the ticket. Vikram Bajwa, son-in-law of Rajinder Bhattal, was denied a ticket from Sahnewal citing “one-family-one-ticket” rule.
From Ludhiana East, former MP Manish Tewari is expected to contest, but Ludhiana MP Bittu is lobbying against him.
From Ludhiana South represented by Balwinder Singh Bains, Congress is struggling to find a strong contender as Ashok Prashar, who contested in 2012, has defected to AAP. Now, Dr Sukhchain Gogi, wife of district president Gurpreet Gogi, is the only name party is depending on.