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Bhattal supports Mann as Phagwara candidate


Press Trust of India Phagwara
Former Punjab chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal on Saturday openly threw her weight behind three-time Congress MLA from Phagwara Joginder Singh Mann for the coming bypoll, saying the state party unit is "firmly behind" him.
Bhattal's support for Mann came amid a possible challenge to his candidature from IAS officer Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal, said to be a hot Congress party candidate for the byboll.
The Phagwara seat fell vacant after BJP's Som Parkash resigned as MLA on becoming an MP.
Bhattal, also the vice-chairperson of the State Planning Board, said there's no reason why Mann's "legitimate" claim over Phagwara, which he has nurtured for three decades, be ignored.
Mann is one of the strongest leaders of Doaba (a region between Beas and Sutlej rivers) and the Punjab Congress is firmly behind him, she said at an event organised by the local unit for the beneficiaries of Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana the state-specific health insurance scheme.
But factionalism in the local unit showed as anti-Mann leaders, including District Congress Committee president Balbir Rani Sodhi, stayed away from the event.
Bhattal, however, said Mann is a mass leader and has always been a huge asset for the party. The former chief minister said the party acknowledges the hard work, commitment and dedication of Mann for Phagwara and its people.
She said she would raise Mann's candidature with the Congress high-command and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to ensure he is able to serve Phagwara better.
Praising Singh for launching the health insurance scheme, Bhattal said the government is committed to provide quality health services to all citizens of the state.

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First Published: Aug 31 2019 | 6:50 PM IST

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