As the Congress in Punjab overlooked Moga MLA Dr Harjot Kamal and formally gave the poll ticket from his constituency to actor Sonu Sood’s younger sister Malvika Sood, Kamal joined the saffron party. He went to the state BJP office in Chandigarh on Saturday, where the formal induction took place. He shared a live video of him joining the BJP around 5 pm on Facebook.
At his BJP induction ceremony, Kamal, who is likely to be the BJP candidate from Moga now, said, “The denial of Congress ticket was a humiliation.” He claimed that the Congress leadership had asked him to contest from another place, which he refused. He said he felt insulted also because, “even when visiting Moga (to induct Malvika), Sidhu saab (Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu) did not visit my place but directly went to the Soods’ house”.
Kamal’s move came even as chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi and Sidhu had both declared that Kamal would be “suitably adjusted”. Sidhu and Channi had personally inducted Malvika, who is a local philanthropist, into the party in the presence of her brother Sonu.
Even before the Congress inducted her and made her the official party candidate, Malvika had already declared that she would contest the assembly election from her hometown Moga. After that, there was speculation over whether she would join the AAP or Congress.
She is being seen as a proxy for Sonu, who gained social capital across the country after helping migrant workers reach their homes after the sudden Covid-induced lockdown in 2020.
As for Kamal, he had already started asserting himself in light of speculation that Malvika would replace him for the 2022 assembly elections, scheduled for February 14. On January 12, before Malvika’s name was formally announced, he openly wrote on his Twitter account in Punjabi: “I love Moga. From Moga, amid speculation that a filmstar’s sister may be given the Congress ticket, common people of Moga on social media have been underlining my honesty and generosity. The people have been appealing to the high command to give me the ticket.”
He also tweeted some videos of him addressing people; in the background, a popular Punjabi song played, roughly translating to ‘They’ve been trying to suppress me, but I am not one of those who can be suppressed’.
However, on Twitter, last checked at 6.30 pm on Saturday, he still had a cover photo of him greeting Channi and Sidhu.
Speaking about Malvika, Kamal said he had no objection to her contesting. “Sonu Sood himself can contest… My issue is the denial of ticket to me… Malvika Sood is like a sister to me but she doesn’t have any qualification for a poll ticket, except being the sister of popular actor Sonu Sood.”
Underlining his two decades of work with the Congress, Kamal criticised Sonu for allegedly hedging his options before going with the Congress. “Sonu Sood met every party leader, including AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal and SAD’s Sukhbir Badal. He is an actor so there must be a script and a director somewhere in all this.”
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