While Congress leader Kamaljit Singh Karwal and Lok Insaaf Party (LIP) chief Simarjit Singh Bains are embroiled in an ugly war of words, following a clash amongst their supporters on Gill Road on Wednesday, political observers reminisce the times when the two were ardent supporters of each other.
Once class fellows who used to ride on the same bicycle, politics and power struggle brought a rift between the two.
Between 2004 and 2012, the duo had a stronghold over Atam Nagar and Ludhiana-South constituencies and used to decide on the fate of candidates. They also used to dominate the municipal corporation (MC) House.
While Bains used to be an aggressor, Karwal played the role of second fiddle.
They even spent a year in jail for assaulting and stripping Tehsildar Major GS Benipal (retd) in 2009.
A major turnaround took place in January 2015 when Bains brothers formed their own political outfit, and Karwal joined the Shiromani Akali Dal. Karwal took along many of Bains’ close aides, including Daljit Singh Bhola who is now an Aam Aadmi Party contestant from Ludhiana-East.
But all didn’t go well for Karwal, who was hoping for a SAD ticket only to be overlooked as the party placed its faith in newcomer Gurmeet Singh Kular in the 2017 assembly elections.
Dejected, Karwal joined the Congress in January in 2017. Though he was immediately offered a ticket by the Congress, he faced strong opposition within the party. Those advocating for Karwal believe that he is the best bet to defeat Bains, who is currently the representative of Atam Nagar constituency. Karwal is fighting the same seat this time too.
During the 2017 elections too, both groups were seen indulging in ugly clashes. The two sides clashed in Dugri over installation of some posters. Later, Karwal accused Bains’ supporters of vandalising the car in which his (Karwal’s) wife was campaigning in the area.
While Bains claims that Karwal will not cross 20,000 votes, Karwal on the other hand claims Bains’ rule is over.
However, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has fielded a formidable candidate Harish Rai Dhanda from Atam Nagar constituency. Dhanda had sided with the woman who had leveled rape allegations against Bains. He had vigorously pursued the matter in the court following which a rape case was registered against Bains.
Besides, Congress turncoat Kulwant Singh Sidhu, who had recently joined Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), is also posing a stiff challenge with his door-to-door campaigns.