The SAD (Taksali), a breakaway faction of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Sunday evening announced withdrawal of its candidate, ex-Army chief Joginder Jaswant Singh, from Khadoor Sahib and its support to Punjab Democratic Alliance's (PDA) Paramjeet Kaur Khalra in the seat.
The PDA candidate is the wife of human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra, who disappeared in fake a encounter in Punjab. He was allegedly killed by Punjab police officials in 1995 after he was abducted from his house in Tarn Taran district.
SAD (Taksali) chief Ranjit Singh Brahmpura said, "People from Punjab and Punjabi Sikh diaspora settled in different countries were constantly in touch with us seeking our support to Paramjeet Kaur Khalra. So respecting their sentiments, we have decided to withdraw our candidate to support her."
"But we also appeal to Khalra to contest the elections as an Independent instead of a party candidate. We will assure her win from Khadoor Sahib as I myself had won the last parliamentary election from there with a margin of about 1 lakh votes," Brahmpura said.
"I had a meeting with Brahmpura today. I told him our strategy is not correct and we should make a united front against our political adversaries -- the Congress and the SAD.
"On the ground, we are contesting against each other. Either you ask her (Khalra) to step down or I am ready to sacrifice for the cause of 'Panth' (Sikh community) because I think we cannot achieve anything by fighting each other," Singh said, adding he would support Paramjeet Kaur Khalra in the polls.
"This would go a long way in forging full unity in the opposition ranks of Punjab to defeat the traditional parties -- the Congress, SAD and BJP," he said.
The PDA comprises Sukhpal Singh Khaira-led Punjab Ekta Party (PEP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Lok Insaaf Party (LIP), Punjab Manch led by suspended AAP MP Dharamvira Gandhi, CPI and the Revolutionary Marxist Party of India (RMPI).
The SAD candidate from Khadoor Sahib, Bibi Jagir Kaur, said, "Withdrawing the candidature of Gen J J Singh (retd) by SAD (Taksali) neither surprised me nor shocked me as I had already predicted that the gentleman general would ultimately be ditched by the party."
While the Congress has fielded Jasbir Singh Dimpa from the seat, the AAP has fielded its youth wing leader Manjinder Singh Sidhu from the parliamentary constituency.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)