MP Aujla struggles to woo opponents within Congress

Friday, 12/04/2019

AMRITSAR : Sitting Congress MP from Amritsar Gurjit Singh Aujla, who has been fielded by the party from this constituency again, is struggling to get the support of certain party leaders, including a minister and some MLAs from rural assembly segments.

Ever since his candidature was announced by the high command, Aujla has been holding meetings in some of the urban segments in the constituency. He managed to get support of Punjab school education minister OP Soni, MLA Sunil Dutti (Amritsar north) and other local leaders, including former Amritsar Congress chief Jugal Kishore Sharma.

However, he could not conduct such meetings in the rural segments such as Rajasansi, Ajnala and Attari from where the party legislators were opposing his candidature. They have yet not announced their support to Aujla. Punjab revenue minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Harpartap Singh Ajnala and Tarsem Singh DC are MLAs from Rajasansi, Ajnala and Attari, respectively.

Sarkaria’s close relative and youth Congress leader Dilraj Singh Sarkaria was also in the race for party ticket from Amritsar seat. Aujla’s detractors within the party had also raised the demand for fielding former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh from Amritsar, but he refused to contest the election, citing the age factor.

Aujla’s supporters say that he worked for the people of the constituency day and night during his two-year tenure so far and he deserves party’s full support for his victory again.

They also feel that the upcoming visit of Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh to the city on the centenary of Jallianwala Bagh massacre on April 13 will boost Aujla’s prospects.

Talking to HT, Aujla said, “Situation will improve as the chief minister will have a meeting with the entire leadership of the constituency during his visit.”

He added, “The things are already getting better. We will soon resolve whatever issues are pending. Actually, some elements are getting fake news items published in a section of media.”

Meanwhile, his opponents in the party are not talking to the media over the issue. Ajnala and Sarkaria were not available for their comments despite HT’s repeated phone calls.

Aujla was elected as an MP in the 2017 Lok Sabha bypoll by defeating BJP nominee Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina with a margin of around two lakh votes, despite the Modi wave.

The parliamentary seat had fallen vacant after Captain Amarinder Singh, who had defeated BJP stalwart Arun Jaitley in 2014 elections, resigned as MP in protest against the Supreme Court verdict on Satluj-Yamuna Link canal issue.

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