Key Election In Punjab To Be Litmus Test For Ruling AAP
Jalandhar Lok Sabha bypoll, the date for which was announced Wednesday, will be a litmus test for the ruling AAP, coming at a time when the party is facing flak from the opposition over law and order in the state with the escape of radical preacher Amritpal Singh.
The preacher escaped the police dragnet in Jalandhar district on March 18 during a crackdown against him and his supporters.
Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring had in the wake of Amritpal’s escape slammed the AAP government and called the police operation a botch-up.
“It won’t be any exaggeration that Bhagwant Mann is spearheading the most inept state government in the country which hurtles towards a new embarrassment every new day,” Mr Warring had said.
The Election Commission on Wednesday announced that the polling for the Jalandhar parliamentary seat will take place on May 10 while the counting will be held on May 13.
Winning the bypoll will be important for the Aam Aadmi Party also since it lost last year the bypoll for Sangrur Lok Sabha seat, which was held previously by Bhagwant Mann, the current Chief Minister of state.
The Sangrur seat was wrested by Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) chief Simranjit Singh Mann. A bypoll was necessitated at the seat after Mann’s election as MLA.
Prestige is also at stake for the main opposition Congress, whose seat was vacated in January after the death of MP Santokh Singh Chaudhary.
Chaudhary, 76, died after he suffered a cardiac arrest during the Congress’ Bharat Jodo Yatra in Jalandhar’s Phillaur.
At present, out of 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab, Congress has seven, BJP and SAD have two seats each, SAD (Amritsar) has one seat, while Jalandhar seat is vacant.
The Congress has already announced Chaudhary’s wife Karamjit Kaur Chaudhary as the party candidate from the Lok Sabha seat.
The other parties were yet to announce the name of their candidates.
Mr Mann had on Monday announced projects worth Rs 100 crore, including setting up of an automatic fermented milk product unit, for Jalandhar.
Earlier, he along with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had laid the foundation stone of Sri Guru Ravidas Bani Adhyan Centre at Dera Sachkhand Ballan in Jalandhar.
A few days ago, former Akali MLA Jagbir Sing Brar had joined the AAP in the presence of Chief Mann Mann.
At his joining, AAP general secretary (Punjab) Harchand Singh Barsat called Mr Brar an influential leader of Jalandhar and said his entry in the party will give it a boost before the upcoming bypoll.
The Congress has appointed Kapurthala Rana MLA Gurjeet Singh as chairman of the campaign committee for the Jalandhar bypoll.
It has named several leaders and former MLAs as in-charge and co-in-charge for Phillaur, Nakodar, Shahkot, Kartarpur, Jalandhar (West), Jalandhar (central), Jalandhar (north), Jalandhar (cantt), and Adampur — all in Jalandhar parliamentary seat.
The BJP has appointed Union Minister and Hoshiarpur MP Som Parkash as its in-charge for the Jalandhar Lok Sabha bypoll.
Party leader Kewal Singh Dhillon and Mukerian MLA Jangi Lal Mahajan had been appointed as co-incharge for the bypoll.
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