With AAP s Mansa MLA Nazar Singh Manshahia joining the Congress party, all eyes are now on the bypoll for the seat with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh s son Raninder Singh being among the frontrunners for the ticket for the bypoll.
Though Manshahia s resignation from Punjab Vidhan Sabha is yet to be accepted, party sources say the party would start preparing for the bypolls, once the Lok Sabha results are out.
Congress insiders say that the bypoll could provide a launch pad to Raninder, who is yet to make his political debut. He was handling Congress campaign from Chandigarh recently alongwith Congress Election Management Committee chairman Laal Singh. He has contested two elections, unsuccessfully, in the past. He had contested Lok Sabha election from Bathinda in 2009, but had lost to Harsimrat Kaur Badal. In 2012 Assembly election, he had contested from Samana but again lost.
It is a thought in the Congress. He will be the best candidate. No one can be better than him, said a party leader on anonymity.
The Speaker Rana Kanwarpal Singh had called Manshahia to take a call on his resignation on Tuesday but Manshahia did not appear before the Speaker. Sources said his mother was unwell and admitted to a hospital. Hence, he had sought another date from the Speaker.
Sources said fielding Raninder would suit the Congress as its Mansa candidate, Dr Manju Bansal, who was defeated by Manshahia in 2017 was upset at his entry in Congress and if he was given a ticket, it may not go down well with her. It may upset Congress applecart. With Chief Minister s son getting the ticket, there would be no red faces. Also, it is believed that most of the bypolls go to the ruling party as people like to have a ruling party MLA in their constituency.
If ticket to Raninder works out, Manshahia could be accommodated in some board or corporation, said a party leader, while reflecting on possibilities. Raninder had been staying away from the political scene. His father had stated that he was more interested in Rifle Shooting Sport than politics and he was doing very well there. Last year, 52-year-old Raninder became the first Indian to be elected one of the four vice presidents of International Shooting Sport Federation. He also heads the National Rifle Association of India.
Raninder had campaigned for Amarinder in 2017 Assembly poll, when he had thrown his hat in the ring against former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal from Lambi but had lost.