Phagwara: Irked over alleged denial of
tickets by the Congress to prominent leaders of Valmiki and
Mazhabi Sikhs, representatives of the community on Saturday
announced they will oppose the party`s candidates in the
January 30 state Assembly polls.
The decision was taken at a meeting of various
organisations of the community including All India
Rangretta Dal, Bharatiya Valmiki Adidharam Samaj, and
International Mazhabi Sikh Jagriti Dal here.
The leaders alleged that the community had been
sidelined in ticket allocation though it had always stood by
"First, eminent leader of community Buta Singh, former
Union Minister, was denied ticket in Lok Sabha polls and now
Joginder Singh Mann, a three-time MLA and a former Punjab
Minister, has been denied ticket from Phagwara for the
assembly polls," they pointed out.
They claimed that the community constituted more than 50
per cent of the total Scheduled Caste population in the state
and thus deserved to be allocated 17 out of the 34 reserved
"However, the community has only been allocated six
seats," they rued.
Vowing to defeat Congress at the hustings, the leaders
declared that community cluster groups would propagate against
the party candidates in all 117 assembly constituencies.
Meanwhile, voices of rebellion have started emerging
from Ferozepur (Urban) assembly segment where former
Parliamentary Secretary Ravinder Singh Sandhu ( Babbal) has
joined those disgruntled Congress leaders who have revolted
against the party over denial of ticket for the upcoming
While addressing his supporters who had converged at
his native village Ratta Khera in Ferozepur, Babbal said that
keeping in view the sentiments of the people who want him to
contest the elections at all costs; he has decided to jump
into the poll arena as an Independent candidate.
Without taking any names, Babbal said that he has
consulted all the senior party colleagues of this area who
have pledged support to him.
Several congress leaders including Former Minister
Balmukand Sharma and former President Punjab Youth Congress
Raminder Awla, were keen to secure party nomination from this
segment, however following allotment of ticket to Pinki, there
is resentment prevailing amidst all these leaders, some of
whom might end up supporting Babbal Sandhu, a disgruntled
leader here said.