SAD opens first card: Ex-SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur from ‘panthic’ Khadoor Sahib
Former Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief and ex-MLA Bibi Jagir Kaur was Tuesday named the Shiromani Akali Dal candidate for the Khadoor Sahib seat in Punjab – the first nominee announced by the party for the Lok Sabha polls.
“The first ticket of the SAD for the parliamentary elections from the Khadoor Sahib seat is given to Bibi Jagir Kaur,” party president Sukhbir Badal said, addressing the gathering in Tarn Taran. He said the decision to field Jagir Kaur was taken by the party as well as the ‘Sikh Sangat’ (Sikh community).
Kaur was acquitted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court last December in a case of forcible abortion and abduction of her daughter, Harpreet Kaur, who had died under mysterious circumstances in April 2000. She had to resign as a minister in the Akali-BJP government in 2012 when a CBI court sentenced her and three others to five years imprisonment.
Sukhbir said Kaur, who had risen up after fighting all odds, would be the voice of the people as well as the Sikh panth in Parliament. Kaur was an MLA from the Bholath assembly seat in Kapurthala district and the two-time president of the SGPC.
Talking to The Indian Express, Jagir Kaur said, “Akali workers are facing political vendetta at the hands of the Congress government and we will highlight this during the campaign. Also, the Congress government in state has stopped all the welfare schemes and the masses will give them a befitting reply. I will win with a huge margin.”
Khadoor Sahib has remained an Akali Dal stronghold and is represented by Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, who along with former MP Rattan Singh Ajnala and Sewa Singh Sekhwan, was expelled from SAD for revolting against Badal. The expelled leaders went on to form the SAD (Taksali). It has fielded former Army chief General J J Singh from the Khadoor Sahib seat. Hitting out at the SAD (Taksali), Sukhbir alleged that as an MP, Brahmpura did not raise any issue in parliament for five years. “You elected Brahmpura sahib but he did not raise a single issue of your area or the state in parliament for five years,” he told the gathering.
Incidentally, in 2014 parliamentary elections, when Akali Dal was facing strong anti incumbency and even its strongest candidate Harsimrat Kaur Badal won with a margin of just 20,000 votes from Bathinda, Brahmpura had defeated Congress’ Harminder Singh Gill by a margin of more than one lakh votes. The Khadoor Sahib parliamentary constituency is spread across the three main regions of Punjab – Majha, Malwa and Doaba. The Lok Sabha seat has nine assembly segments – Kapurthala, Sultanpur Lodhi (Doaba), Zira (Malwa) and Tarn Taran, Khadoor Sahib, Khemkaran, Patti, Baba Bakala, and Jandiala (Majha).
Considered a Panthik Parliamentary seat, the constituency with a total of 15,95,595 registered voters is set to witness an interesting electoral battle. Apart from Jagir Kaur and JJ Singh, others in fray include Punjab Ekta Party’s Paramjit Kaur Khalra – the widow of human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra, who was known for his work on Sikh youth who disappeared in fake encounters in Punjab – and United Akali Dal’s Mohkam Singh, a former Damdami Taksal spokesperson.