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Punjab Congress chief Sidhu fails in bid to keep out tainted leaders from party’s list of poll candidates

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Despite Navjot Singh Sidhu trying to keep out tainted leaders from getting Congress tickets, several candidates announced have criminal records

Punjab Pradesh Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu has failed in his attempt to keep out tainted leaders from getting tickets to contest  the state assembly elections as the names of several party candidates announced by the party in its first list are either facing charges of corruption or are allegedly involved in scams.

However, all these tainted candidates deny the allegations levelled against them.

Sham Sundar Arora, in the poll fray from Hoshiarpur, faced allegations of selling government land worth several crores to a private party at a throwaway price. He was at the time the Industries minister in the Captain Amarinder Singh government. He was dropped from the cabinet by the new incumbent Charanjit Singh Channi.

Former minister Balbir Sidhu contesting from Mohali has been accused of grabbing government land in villages besides the tiles scandal.

Navtej Cheema fielded from Sultanpur Lodhi, too, is a tainted name as he was accused of misappropriating the funds of a religious place.   

Former minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot found himself amidst the much talked about scholarship scandal. The scholarship meant for scheduled caste students was misappropriated to the tune of several crores of rupees.

Gurpreet Singh Kangar fielded from Rampura Phul was involved in a controversy in the revenue department when allegations of corruption were levelled against him.

Kulbir Singh Zira contesting from Zira was allegedly involved in illegal mining and does not enjoy a clean image.

Khushbaz Singh Jattana contesting from Talwandi Sabo is alleged to be involved in the illicit liquor trade.

Last but not the least is the name of Rana Gurjit Singh whose name figured in the sand mining scandal due to which he had to quit the Amarinder Singh cabinet. However, he was later cleared by a commission of inquiry.

Popular rural singer Sidhu Moosewala who has been fielded from Mansa faces a criminal case of illegally firing from a police weapon belonging to his friend, a police officer in Sangrur district.

Besides, he is accused of promoting gun culture through his songs.

Sukhpal Khaira who has been fielded from Bholath faces charges of money laundering in a case filed by the Enforcement Directorate.

Madan Lal Jalalpur is another controversial candidate who has been fielded from Ghanaur constituency. His name surfaced in the illicit liquor factory seized by excise officers in Patiala district. Besides, he is known to be involved in illegal sand mining with media reporting about his patronage to the mining mafia.

State Congress chief Navjot Sidhu appears to have lost out in the factional fight within the party in preventing these leaders from getting tickets as a result of which he has not been able to live up to his promise to clean up the party.  

Also read: Punjab CM Channi’s image takes a battering as nephew’s link surfaces in mining scam