Congress bets on Hindu face, Sathi is Moga candidate
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Ending the uncertainty over the Congress candidate for the Moga bypoll, the party finally decided to go for a Hindu face to take on Congress-turned-Akali Dal candidate Joginderpal Jain.
According to party sources, out of the two names recommended by the panel appointed by Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh to shortlist the candidate, party president Sonia Gandhi decided in favour of former MLA Vijay Sathi. The name will formerly be announced by AICC member Oscar Fernandes on Saturday.
Former minister Darshan Brar, who has thrown his hat in the ring after losing the Bagha Purana seat in the January polls, was the other candidate who was shortlisted.
The odds were in favour of the Hindu face, as the seat has in the last two elections returned to Hindu candidates, making Sathi the most likely choice.
He won the seat just once and was denied a ticket after Jain rose to become the party's invincible candidate, since the 2007 polls.
The credentials of both the contenders make an interesting comparison. Other than being a Hindu, Congress sources said Sathi was a local candidate, outspoken and had a clean image.
The fact that he withdrew his candidature from Moga in the 2012 Assembly polls at Sonia Gandhi's rally is also fresh in the memory of state and national leaders. His close proximity to CWC member Jagmeet Brar stood him in good stead. He also had the support of Amarinder, sources said.
"The party had faced criticism for fielding too many Jat Sikhs in the 2012 polls. We have decided to have Hindu candidates in some seats. Moga is an urban seat, but the communal and caste profile of Moga is not too predominantly Sikh or Hindu. It has nearly 60,000 Hindus, 50,000 Jat Sikhs and 43,000 Dalits. The Congress MLA who ran away to the Akali Dal was also a Hindu. So, it was decided to field a Hindu candidate," a senior leader said.