CHANDIGARH: Famed, but controversial gun donning, the 28-year-old Punjabi rapper Sidhu Moosewala is the Congress' novice candidate from Mansa for the February 14 assembly polls. He's the party high command's choice despite sitting Congress legislator Nazar Singh Manshahia hinting rebellion for being ignored.
The party on Saturday released its first list of 86 out of 117 candidates, including 58 sitting legislators. Also, philanthropist and actor Sonu Sood's sister Malavika Sood is the party's candidate from Moga.
Just days ahead of announcing Moosewala's candidature, Mansa Youth Congress president Chuspinderbir Singh Chahal challenged Moosewala to undergo a dope test. At this, Moosewala, who has more than 10 crore followers, replied he has no time for such malicious allegations.
Critics within the Congress were aghast over his candidature. They say on his Instagram account there are several posts where he is carrying guns. Moosewala, who is facing charges of promoting violence and gun culture in his song "Sanju", joined the Congress on December 3, 2021.
During the induction ceremony, state party president Navjot Singh Sidhu described Moosewala as a youth icon. "Not only youngsters, people of all age groups like Moosewala. He has a unique style and is a youth icon," Sidhu said.
Describing Moosewala as a "big artiste", Chief Minister Charanjit Channi said with his sheer hard work he has won the hearts of millions of people. After joining the party, Moosewala met Rahul Gandhi in Delhi.
Moosewala, whose real name is Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, is known for his hit Punjabi tracks like 'Legend', 'Devil', 'Just listen', 'Jatt da Muqabala' and 'Hathyar', among many others. His name also featured in the Billboard Canadian Albums in 2018.
"I am not entering politics for status or to earn praise. I want to become a part of the system to transform it. I am joining the Congress to raise the voice of the people. I am joining the Congress as the party has leaders who have come from common families," Moosewala had said on the day he joined politics.
He said he is still living in the same house in his village. His father is an ex-serviceman and his mother is a sarpanch. "Residents of my area have expectations from me," he had added.
From the Mansa seat, sitting legislator Manshahia was elected on the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ticket with over 20,000 votes. In April 2019, he rebelled and joined the Congress. Since the joining of Moosewala into the Congress, elderly Manshahia has been saying that his family is a traditional supporter of the Congress and he's a better claimant for the seat.