Before naming candidate for Moga, Cong a divided house

Bypoll District president says 'not possible to implement all that Rahul Gandhi says'

Even as state Congress is yet to zero in on the candidate for the Moga bypoll, slated for February 23, the party is a divided house with all "possible candidates" terming themselves as the "most qualified" for the ticket.

Jagdarshan Kaur, district party president, on Monday claimed that a Hindu face was needed to win the seat. "Congress can win the seat only if there is a Hindu face, who can make our agenda and campaign a success," said Kaur, indicating her support for former MLA Vijay Sathi, who is in race along with another former MLA, Darshan Singh Brar.

State Mahila Congress president Dr Malti Thapar, however, claimed she was the strongest contender for the ticket. "I am still the strongest contender for ticket from Moga. A Hindu face is needed to represent Moga and I feel a Hindu candidate should get the ticket," Thapar said, adding that committee set up to select a candidate will not solve the purpose, "as locals here know better about leaders than those at the centre".

Meanwhile, Vijay Sathi, while projecting himself as a strong contender, said: "I belong to Moga. I am connected to its roots. Earlier also, Sonia Gandhi believed in Joginderpal Jain more than me and my ticket was given to him. If Rajiv Gandhi would have been alive, I would have never been treated like this."

"I am the most qualified and fittest candidate for Moga and no one can raise a finger at me. Brar has already lost Baghapurana and Malti Thapar is supporting me as a candidate," he claimed.

Jagroop Singh Takhtupura, another contender for the ticket, defied Kaur's claim that a Hindu candidate was needed.

"I have a strong base and had a big hand in Jain's win last time. I am connected to the grassroots with all block presidents supporting me. Who says Moga is a Hindu seat ? Out of 1.78 lakh votes, only 70,000 are Hindus," he said.

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