Jalandhar bypoll: Grabbing third spot a solace for SAD
The last-minute push by Shiromani Akali Dal to garner votes in the Jalandhar parliament segment as a tribute to party patriarch Parkash Singh Badal, who passed away last month, has not yielded desired results
The last-minute push by Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) to garner votes in the Jalandhar parliament segment as a tribute to party patriarch Parkash Singh Badal, who passed away last month, has not yielded desired results. Akali Dal and its alliance partner Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) were pushed to the number three position behind the victorious Aam Aami Party (AAP) and runners-up Congress.
Two days before the poll campaign ended on May 8, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal made an emotional appeal to the voters and said that each vote for the SAD-BJP alliance will be a true tribute to Akali patriarch Parkash Singh Badal seems to have not found many takers so as to pull up party’s electoral fortunes.
However, what comes as consolation for SAD is the fact that it’s ahead of its former ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The alliance polled 1,58,445 votes, 23,645 more than the saffron party candidate.
Experts say it was an aggressive campaign by the ruling party which dwarfed all the contenders.
“For SAD-BSP some respect has been restored with the number three position, as the victorious candidate comes from the AAP, which has government in the state and number two Congress has its stronghold in Jalandhar,” said Jagrup Singh Sekhon, former head of political science department of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. He adds that populist steps taken in the state by the AAP government, such as free power and Mohalla clinics, also contributed to its victory. Director of institute of development communication, Chandigarh, Pramod Kumar termed the results of the four cornered contest as “a start of revival of SAD”.
Out of 8.87 lakh votes polled, 17% votes were polled in favour of the alliance. In all nine constituencies, falling in the parliament segment, the SAD-BSP alliance bagged the number two position in Kartarpur and Nakodar segments.
SAD hoped to boost up its political stocks which had witnessed a steep fall in the 2017 assembly elections and further plummeted in the state polls in 2022 when it could only win three seats in the 117-member assembly.
The party banked on its most tangible Dalit face Dr Sukhwinder Kumar Sukhi as its candidate for the byelection of March 10, who is also sitting MLA from Banga.
The alliance, especially, the SAD managed to pull its cadre out for campaigning, with party president Sukhbir Singh Badal and former minister Bikram Singh Majithia taking centre stage in the poll campaign. The party’s plan to focus on the rural areas also seems to have not worked.
“We lost crucial campaign time due to Badal Saab’s (Parkash Singh Badal) death. Moreover, it’s a Congress stronghold who were able to put up a fight,” said SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema.