Congress Picks Lal Singh, Bhalla for Key Seats in Udhampur and Jammu

Congress Picks Lal Singh, Bhalla for Key Seats in Udhampur and Jammu

Days after rejoining the Congress, former MP Choudhary Lal Singh was given the party’s mandate on Saturday to take on Union Minister Jitendra Singh from the Udhampur constituency, which goes to polls on April 19. The Congress has also fielded its J&K working president Raman Bhalla from Jammu.

Lal Singh (65), hailing from Kathua district, rejoined the Congress at its headquarters in Delhi on March 20.

Lal Singh, who won the Udhampur seat twice on Congress tickets in 2004 and 2009, besides being a three-time former MLA, switched from the grand old party to the BJP in 2014 and was also a minister in the previous PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir that collapsed in June 2018 after the national party pulled out of the alliance.

Several months before the government’s fall, Lal Singh resigned from the BJP and floated his own outfit following an uproar over his participation in a rally in support of the accused in a rape-and-murder case of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua district in January 2018. On November 7 last year, Lal Singh was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a money-laundering case against an educational trust run by his wife and former legislator Kanta Andotra. However, he was released on bail three weeks later.

For Raman Bhalla, this will be his second attempt to defeat incumbent BJP MP Jugal Kishore Sharma from the Jammu parliamentary seat, which goes to polls on April 26. — PTI

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