Jalandhar West assembly bypoll: SAD struggling to find ‘suitable’ candidate - Hindustan Times
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Jalandhar West assembly bypoll: SAD struggling to find ‘suitable’ candidate

By, Jalandhar
Jun 19, 2024 05:08 AM IST

SAD has not contested assembly elections from Jalandhar West for the past over two decades as the BJP, which remained in alliance with SAD from 1997 onwards till 2020, contested elections from this assembly segment. Even with alliance with the BSP in 2022, the Akali Dal handed over the seat to its coalition partner. The SAD-BSP candidate, Anil Meena polled only 4,125 votes in 2022.

With no strong political base in the reserved Jalandhar West constituency, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is in a dilemma over finding a suitable candidate for the byelection slated for July 10.

With no strong political base in the reserved Jalandhar West constituency, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is in a dilemma over finding a suitable candidate for the byelection slated for July 10. (Representational image)
With no strong political base in the reserved Jalandhar West constituency, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is in a dilemma over finding a suitable candidate for the byelection slated for July 10. (Representational image)

The party has not contested assembly elections from Jalandhar West for the past over two decades as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which remained in alliance with SAD from 1997 onwards till 2020, contested elections from this assembly segment. Even with alliance with the BSP in 2022, the Akali Dal handed over the seat to its coalition partner. The SAD-BSP candidate, Anil Meena polled only 4,125 votes in 2022.

After a debacle in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, SAD president Sukhbir Badal has formed a panel of senior leaders, including Jagir Kaur and Gurpartap Singh Wadala, to find a suitable candidate for the byelections.

Jagir Kaur said there is no point in not fielding a candidate for the Jalandhar bypoll as it will dent the morale of the workers.

“Being a regional party, we should contest the election whatever the results may be. We will surely decide our nominee in the coming days,” she said.

In the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, SAD candidate Mohinder Singh Kaypee got only 2,623 votes.

Meanwhile, SAD Jalandhar district president Gurpartap Singh Wadala said they have shortlisted three candidates and their names have been sent for the final announcement.

“We could not ask Kaypee or his family members to contest the bypoll within a month of contesting the Lok Sabha polls,” he said.

The SAD panel has proposed the names of Jalandhar city SC wing president Bhajan Lal Chopra, two-time councillor Surjit Kaur and youth leader Varun Kaler.

The SAD-BJP alliance proved mettle from this particular constituency as BJP senior leader Chunni Lal Bhagat remained MLA from Jalandhar constituency twice.

In 2007, Bhagat won with a margin of 11,915 votes from Congress’ Kaypee and Congress’ Suman Kaypee lost to Bhagat by 11,343 votes in 2012.

In 2017, Bhagat’s son Mohinder Bhagat lost to Sushil Kumar Rinku, who was in the Congress, by 17,334 votes.

The byelection is going to be a prestige battle for all the parties. The incumbent AAP is looking for a suitable candidate to retain its seat, while the BJP will go all out to dominate in the SC reserved constituency. Challenges galore for both the Congress and AAP as far as candidate selection is concerned as both the parties are facing a leadership crisis in the constituency.

Even though Congress’ Charanjit Singh Channi defeated BJP’s Sushil Kumar Rinku to win the Jalandhar Lok Sabha constituency on June 4 by a record margin of 1.75 lakh votes, the former CM got a meagre lead of 1,557 votes over his rival in this assembly segment.

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