No one from my family will contest assembly polls: Amarinder

Chandigarh, Dec 30 (IANS) Congress’ Punjab president Amarinder Singh said on Wednesday that none of his family members, other than him, will contest the assembly elections scheduled to be held in early 2017.

“It is a principled stand I and my family have taken that only one member will be contesting,” Amarinder told a group of students from various educational institutions from Punjab, who met him at his residence here.

He said that he would himself be contesting the next assembly polls.

The Congress leader announced this after a student asked him how other people could join politics when big political leaders were only giving tickets to their own family members.

Amarinder’s wife Preneet Kaur is the Congress legislator from the Patiala assembly seat. It was earlier represented by Amarinder but he quit it last year his election to Lok Sabha from the Amritsar parliamentary seat in May 2014.

Amarinder’s son, Raninder Singh, had unsuccessfully contested the 2012 assembly polls from the Samana assembly seat in Patiala district.

Preneet had been the Lok Sabha MP from Patiala parliamentary seat thrice earlier before she lost in the May 2014 general elections. Raninder had also lost the Bathinda Lok Sabha polls in 2009 on a Congress ticket.

Amarinder’s brother, Malwinder Singh, had, in 2012, tried to get the Congress ticket for the Samana assembly seat. He quit the Congress and joined the Akali Dal after the Congress gave the ticket for the seat to Amarinder’s son.

Asked by the students as how could they join politics as they did not have any political family background, Amarinder told them that times were changing and the Congress was encouraging young and enterprising people to contest.

“It is not like the Badals where everything is disbursed and distributed within the family,” he remarked, referring to Punjab’s ruling family of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Elections to the 117-member assembly are likely to be held in February 2017.

The main contest will be among the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, the opposition Congress and new entrant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

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