Kultar Singh Sandhwan unanimously elected Punjab assembly Speaker

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Kultar Singh Sandhwan, 46, was unanimously elected Punjab assembly Speaker in Chandigarh on Monday.

Chief minister Bhagwant Mann proposed Kotkapura Aam Aadmi Party MLA Sandhwan’s name for the post and he was unanimously elected. Mann and cabinet minister Harpal Singh Cheema escorted Sandhwan to the Speaker’s chair.

Mann said that he was happy that a person from an ordinary family had made it to the Speaker’s post. Incidentally, Sandhwan is the grandnephew of former president Giani Zail Singh. Kultar’s grandfather Jangir Singh and Giani Zail Singh were brothers.

“I hope you will give equal opportunity to everyone,” Mann said, adding that the assembly proceedings will be telecast live. “We will make this House an example for the rest of the country where everyone is given an opportunity to speak,” he said.

Leaders welcome telecasting proceedings live

Congratulating Sandhwan, Congress MLA and former cabinet minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa said, “You performed your duty in the opposition very well, too. I hope you will give an opportunity to the opposition members to speak in the House.”

Shiromani Akali Dal MLA Manpreet Singh Ayali, BJP MLA Ashwani Sharma and BSP MLA Nachhatar Pal (BSP) also congratuled Mann and Sandhwan.

Congress MLAs Sukhpal Khaira and Partap Singh Bajwa welcomed the decision to telecast the proceedings of the assembly live. Both asked Mann to increase the duration of sessions of the assembly.

AAP MLA Aman Arora expressed confidence that the Speaker will give equal opportunity to everyone in the House.

Sandhwan, a non-Jat Sikh face, succeeds Congress leader Rana Kanwar Pal Singh as Speaker.

Grassroots politician like Zail Singh

Sandhwan, who completed his automobile engineering from Karnataka in 1997, joined active politics in 2002 and became a Congress-backed sarpanch of Sandhwan village from 2003-08. He joined the AAP when party launched its membership drive in 2012.

He had staked claim to Zail Singh’s legacy when he first successfully contested the assembly elections from Kotkapura in 2017. Now his re-election has strengthened his political status as he defeated Shiromani Akali Dal’s three-time MLA Mantar Brar for the second consecutive election.

Like Zail Singh, Sandhwan is a grassroots politician of humble origin. He has been an advocate for environmental conservation and has also been the AAP’s kisan wing state president.

Sandhwan has maintained a strong stand against the sacrilege and police firing incidents in Faridkot district in 2015. He participated in protests held by victim families and at times was the only leader joining these protests.


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