The Bipol’s four-cornered contest for the Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat on May 10 looks set to turn into a test for all the four main contenders as well as their lead in Punjab.

All the contenders including the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the opposition – Congress, SAD-BSP alliance and BJP – all came out for the grilling, as they see it as a test of their popularity in the state ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

People have been laid off due to the death of Congress Member of Parliament Santokh Singh Chaudhary, who suffered a fatal heart attack while walking with former Congress President Rahul Gandhi during the Punjab leg of the Bharat Guddu Yatra in January this year.

Karamjeet Kaur Chaudhry, Chaudhry’s wife, is the congressional candidate, with the party hoping to capitalize on the “sympathy factor”, which has also become a SAD campaign theme, following the April 25 death of Akali supremo Parkash Singh Badal, midway through the party. campaign, at the age of 95. His son and SDP chairman Sukhbir Singh Badal appealed to voters to honor the Akali patriarch by voting for their candidate to win.

The SDP candidate, Sukhwinder Singh Sukhi, is one of the three members of the legislature of the 117-member Punjab Vidhan Sabha. He is an MLA from Banga.

Having been reduced to a high during the previous General Assembly elections, having managed 15 seats in the 2017 elections which fell to three in 2022, Akali’s leadership has left no stone unturned on its way to the Jalandhar Lok Sabha constituency, a seat reserved in Supreme Committee. , keeping its importance alive in the politics of Punjab. Along with the veteran Akali commanders, Sukhbir and SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia led the campaign from the front in favor of Sukhi.

SAD forges an alliance with the BSP ahead of the 2022 AGM elections, after its split with its longtime ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Aiming to expand its presence in Punjab through Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s unprecedented outreach to the Sikh community, the BJP went to Jalandhar seat in a bid to emerge as a major player in the border state. The BJP’s patriotic executive members, former Congress Captain Amarinder Singh, and former Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee Chairman Sunil Jacquard, along with Akali leaders estranged from the influential Diendsa family led by former state finance minister Parminder Singh Dehindsa, campaigned from Deferred BJP candidate Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal. The union ministers, Anurag Thakur and Hardeep Puri, also set up camp in Jalandhar for a large-scale campaign for Atwal’s nomination.

Atwal defected from the SSP to the BJP in the run-up to the assembly, and was immediately sent to the BJP. His father, a prominent Sikh Dalit leader, Charanjeet Singh Atwal, was a veteran – having represented the party twice in the Lok Sabha and three times in the Vidhan Sabha, as well as having served as the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha once and Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker twice – also resigned from SAD and later joined the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The AAP also gave its ticket to an apostate, Sushil Renko, who had defected from Congress. The result of Jalandhar bypoll will be even more significant for the AAP, as it has already lost Sangrur Lok Sabha bypoll since winning the association polls with a huge majority of 92 MLAs in February 2022. The Sangrur bypoll, held in June 2022 after Bhagwant Mann, the current AAP deputy, took over The position of Vice-President of Punjab, was won by the Chief of SAD (Amritsar) Simranjit Singh Mann.

Jalandhar People is considered by many to be a referendum on AAP promises before polling. Among those pledges, the ruling party made good on the promise of free electricity, with around 80% of consumers reportedly not receiving electricity bills. But it has yet to fulfill the promise of INR 1,000 per month to women over the age of 18, something highlighted by their competitors in the bypoll campaign.
The AAP has campaigned extensively for the bypoll, including through performances on the road featuring AAP National Conference CM Mann and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.

For once, the state’s congressional unity, better known for its contentiousness and factionalism, has put on a united face. People’s Protection Committee Chairman Amrinder Singh Raja Waring, Opposition Leader Partap Singh Bajwa, and former People’s Civil Police Committee Chairman Navjot Singh Sidhu camped in Jalandhar for the Karamjit Kaur Chaudhary campaign. For Sidhu, the cricketer-turned-politician, it was his first big political outing after his release from prison on April 1. Many see the referendum on Waring’s work as PPCC Chair and Bajwa as LoP as well.

Peipul also comes in the background of the deteriorating law and order situation in the state, following the high-voltage drama that stretched out for more than a month following the escape and arrest of Chief Waris Punjab De and Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh. Over the past few days, two explosions have also been reported from Heritage Avenue leading to the Golden Temple in Amritsar.


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