Punjab’s prominent Dalit leader Kaypee joins Akali Dal, fielded from Jalandhar

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Punjab’s prominent Dalit leader Kaypee joins Akali Dal, fielded from Jalandhar
Chandigarh: In another setback to the Congress in Punjab, its former state chief and ex-MP Mohinder Singh Kaypee, a prominent Dalit leader in the Doaba region, joined the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Monday.

The SAD announced the names of candidates for five more Lok Sabha seats in the state, including Kaypee.

SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal visited Kaypee’s residence in Jalandhar and announced him as the party candidate from the Jalandhar (reserved) parliamentary constituency.

Kaypee, a former President of the Congress state unit and three-time MLA, was in touch with Sukhbir Badal for the past few days and held multiple closed-door meetings ever since he was denied the ticket by the Congress. He was among the contenders from this Dalit-dominated parliamentary segment but the Congress announced former Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi as its candidate.

Both Channi and Kaypee are close relatives as Kaypee’s daughter Karishma is married to Channi’s nephew Manraj Singh.

Earlier, Karamjit Kaur, the wife of former Congress MP from Jalandhar, Santokh Singh Chaudhary, switched loyalties too and joined the BJP.

Inducting Kaypee into the Akali Dal, Sukhbir Badal described him as a seasoned political leader who holds a reputed image in Doaba politics.

“The SAD campaign gets a major boost with Kaypee’s joining in. It will surely help in strengthening the party in Doaba,” he said.

The party announced that Sukhbir Badal’s wife and sitting MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal would re-contest from Bathinda.

From Ferozepur, which is represented by Sukhbir Badal, the party has given the ticket to Nardev Singh Bobby Mann. Ranjit Singh Dhillon will contest from Ludhiana, while former cabinet minister Sohan Singh Thandal from Hoshiarpur, another reserved parliamentary constituency in Doaba.

The party has fielded Hardeep Singh Saini, a former Deputy Mayor of Chandigarh, from Chandigarh. With the new announcements, SAD has declared candidates from 12 constituencies in Punjab.

Sukhbir Badal said the announcement for the Khadoor Sahib seat would be made soon.


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