Rebel MPs queer pitch for Punjab, Haryana parties

Source: India Abroad News Service

Chandigarh, March 13 (IANS)┬áNearly one-third of the sitting Members of Parliament (MPs) in Punjab and Haryana have turned “rebels” in this general election against the parties with which they won the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Four sitting MPs in Punjab have floated new parties and are indulging in activities against parties they were elected from in May 2014.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Lok Sabha MP from Patiala, Dharamvira Gandhi, has floated the Punjab Manch. The new political outfit has joined the Punjab Democratic Alliance (PDA), which includes six other smaller parties. Gandhi has been declared the PDA candidate for the Patiala seat.

Gandhi — a popular cardiologist in Patiala — and sitting AAP MP from Fatehgarh Sahib Harinder Singh Khalsa were suspended from the party in May 2015 for “anti-party activities”. Both have been under suspension ever since.

The AAP had won four out of 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab in 2014, and two of its MPs have turned “rebels”.

The sitting Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MP from Ferozepur Lok Sabha seat, Sher Singh Gubhaya, too has been criticising the party leadership for the last three years. He formally joined the Congress party earlier this month. His son is a sitting Congress legislator in the state.

Senior SAD leader Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, who is the sitting MP from the Khadoor Sahib seat, was expelled from the party in November for “anti-party activities”. He and other senior Akali leaders, Rattan Singh Ajnala and Sewa Singh Sekhwan, have floated a new party — the Shiromani Akali Dal (Taksali).

Punjab’s ruling Congress, which has four MPs, has not experienced similar rebellion in the ranks of its sitting MPs.

In neighbouring Haryana, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Kurukshetra, Raj Kumar Saini, has not only been critical of the party’s central and state leadership for over four years but has also gone ahead and floated a new party — the Loktantra Suraksha Party (LSP).

Dushyant Chautala, the young MP from Hisar, who was elected in 2014 on an Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) ticket, has floated a new party — the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP).

The JJP, in its very first political outing just weeks after its formation, performed well in the recent Jind assembly seat bypoll. Dushyant’s brother, Digvijay Chautala, finished second in the contest behind the BJP candidate.

The Congress finished a poor third despite a strong leader like Randeep Surjewala being fielded by the party. The INLD, which had won the seat twice earlier, lost its security deposit.

The sitting INLD MP from the Sirsa Lok Sabha seat, Charanjit Singh Rori, courted controversy last month after an announcement was made regarding his joining the JJP. However, he was back in the INLD fold.

At least four sitting BJP MPs in Haryana — Ashwini Kumar (Karnal), Dharambir Singh (Bhiwani-Mahendergarh), Rattan Lal Kataria (Ambala) and Rao Inder Singh (Gurugram) — have, in the past, spoken against the BJP leadership and the BJP government in Haryana headed by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. However, they have not openly rebelled against the party.

The parties in both states are now looking to field new candidates for these seats.

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