Tribune News Service
Amritsar, September 20
Amritsar Central MLA OP Soni was a surprise pick for the Congress as Deputy Chief Minister. Soni was nowhere within the image until the eleventh hour when his identify emerged for the submit.
An in depth confidante of former CM Capt Amarinder Singh, Soni, regardless of being a five-time MLA, needed to anticipate a 12 months earlier than changing into a part of the Amarinder cupboard as the schooling minister in April 2018.
Soon, through the cupboard reshuffle he was divested of his portfolio, to which he had revolted ‘silently’. After two weeks, he accepted the cost of medical schooling and analysis in June 2019, however not earlier than talking out on file that he was punished as an alternative of being rewarded as the college schooling requirements had proven enchancment and the Congress had carried out properly within the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from his constituency.
Later, he consoled himself saying it was ‘the CM’s prerogative’.
Soni seldom shared cordial ties with the then BJP parliamentary polls nominee Navjot Singh Sidhu in opposition to whom he misplaced his life’s solely election in 2009.
Soni challenged the outcome and filed two instances – a defamation case within the court docket of the Civil Judge (Senior Division) in Amritsar in opposition to Sidhu for his alleged remarks that Soni was embroiled in drug peddling and one other case filed within the Punjab and Haryana High Court on June 29, 2009, the place Soni challenged the Lok Sabha election outcome. Sidhu had defeated Soni by 6,858 votes then. As the trial within the High Court was beneath manner, Sidhu challenged it within the Supreme Court.
However, with the change of political equations when Sidhu joined the Congress in 2017, the Congress management requested Soni to succeed in a compromise with Sidhu and he withdrew each the instances as Sidhu needed to contest the Amritsar East seat on a Congress ticket.
Yet, the sweet-sour relation between them continued and each maintained distance from one another. During the course of friction between Amarinder and Sidhu, Soni sided with the previous.
Soni was additionally conspicuous by his absence when Sidhu, after getting appointed as PPCC chief, visited Amritsar and, alongside along with his supporting MLAs, paid obeisance on the Golden Temple.
Nonetheless, Amritsar’s first mayor Soni (1991-1996) remained well-liked among the many residents of the holy metropolis and was nonetheless fondly referred to as ‘Mayor Saheb’. He was elected to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha 4 occasions independently in 1997, 2002, 2007 and 2012, earlier than contesting efficiently once more in 2017 on a Congress ticket. His USP is his ‘straightforward accessibility’.