The quiet party loyalist who never shied away from speaking his mind

Nabha replaced Fatehgarh Sahib MLA Kuljit Singh Nagra, Rahul Gandhi's aide

COMING FROM a dyed-in-the-wool traditional Congress family, Randeep Singh Nabha, better known as ‘Kaka Randeep’ in political circles, has been four-time MLA — twice from his hometown of Nabha in Patiala district and twice from Amloh of Fatehgarh Sahib. 

Nabha’s name as a minister in Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi’s new Cabinet was cleared at the last minute after Rahul Gandhi held a meeting with the CM around midnight on Saturday. Randeep replaced his party colleague and Fatehgarh Sahib MLA, Kuljit Singh Nagra, the two-time MLA, and Rahul Gandhi’s close aide. 

However, sources close to Randeep Singh Nabha said that it was neither Rahul Gandhi nor PPCC president Navjot Singh Sidhu, who paved his way into the new Cabinet. It was rather Randeep Nabha’s old proximity with former Madhya Pradesh CM, Kamal Nath, whom he considers his ‘Godfather’, that swung the ministerial berth in his favour. 

“After Nagra’s name was announced as a probable for the Cabinet, Randeep protested because Nagra was already appointed as working president PPCC by Sidhu and was only a two-time MLA, whereas he had won four times. He also didn’t see eye to eye with Nagra. Randeep lobbied with the help of Kamal Nath, who in turn told Sonia Gandhi that  Randeep must be included, which led to the last-minute changes in the list,” said a close aide of the leader. 

Randeep, within the Congress ranks, is known for speaking his mind and standing up for himself, even if it means lodging protests against his own party. Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls 2019, he had demanded a ticket from Patiala, which was instead given to Preneet Kaur, wife of Captain Amarinder Singh.  Randeep then refused to campaign for her in Patiala and said “CM Amarinder might be a good leader, but he was mostly inaccessible.” 

Party leaders identify Randeep as a man who barely is influenced by anyone, often walking his own path and not being part of any camp within the Congress. However, his political success as four-time MLA is attributed to the legacy left behind by his father Gurdarshan Singh, who was four-time Congress MLA (1962, 1967, 1977, and 1988) from the family’s hometown constituency of Nabha. He had also lost from Nabha thrice, but contested seven times from this seat. 

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