Sangrur bypoll loss still weighing heavy, AAP adopts wait & watch for Jalandhar – The Indian Express

Five days after the Election Commission announced byelection to Jalandhar Lok Sabha constituency, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Punjab has adopted a wait and watch policy to zero down on its candidate.
The last date of filing the nominations is April 20 for the May 10 byelection. Sources said that the party, stung by its defeat in Sangrur Lok Sabha bypoll last year, does not want to take any chances and wants to bet on a “heavyweight.” However, the party does not have many senior leaders with most of its seniors already in the Assembly.
The byelection in this SC reserved constituency was necessitated following the demise of Congress MP Santokh Chaudhary during AICC leader Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra in January this year. The Congress has nominated his wife Karamjit Kaur Chaudhary, banking on sympathy vote and Chaudhary’s “connect” with the constituency as she has been a social worker.
Having lost first byelection from Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann’s pocketborough Sangrur, the strategically important seat which was vacated by Mann himself after his election to Assembly, the AAP, it is learnt, wants to make it certain that they do not lose another election. During Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s visit to Dera Sachkhand Ballan in Jalandhar recently, he also made it clear to party leadership that the AAP unit cannot afford to lose this election. Otherwise, it would send a wrong message ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The party, it is learnt, had been trying to poach on Congress MP Mohinder Singh Kaypee and former Congress MLA Sushil Kumar Rinku. Also, some leaders even got in touch with former SAD MLA Pawan Tinu but the meeting could not materialise. The party also tried to take a view from its senior SC leaders including Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema but without any success. The political observers did not miss taking note of another Cabinet minister Harbhajan Singh, the MLA from Jandiala constituency, who was seen putting up posters against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Jalandhar recently.
The names of two SC MLAs of AAP, including Sheetal Angural and Balkar Singh, have also been making rounds. Former Congress minister Joginder Mann is also in the reckoning. But it is learnt that the party would first want to see choices of rival parties. Except Congress, no other party has been able to announce their candidate. The BJP, having senior leaders like Manoranjan Kalia, KD Bhandari, Chunni Lal Bhagat in Doaba is finding it difficult to find a parachute candidate as these leaders have been nurturing the party cadre and would like someone groomed by them to contest election from Jalandhar.
The SAD and BSP alliance partners have yet not disclosed who would be contesting. While sources in SAD said that it will be a SAD-BSP joint candidate.
The AAP’s major poll plank would be free 300 units of power given to the residents in the state. It would also try to garner votes on jobs and regularisation of services of contractual employees.
The party will however have to think of attracting SCs, who form a major chunk of population in Jalandhar. The SCs in Jalandhar are not known to get swayed by money power considering that they have been exposed to foreign shores as the Doaba region is known for having maximum residents immigrating abroad.
Mann has been frequenting Dera Sachkhand Ballan, a socio-religious organisation of SCs in Ballan village in Jalandhar. Recently, Kejriwal had also visited the dera and laid foundation stone of Guru Ravidas Bani Research Centre and handed over a cheque of Rs 25 crore for the same.
Happy Birthday Simran: When the Gulmohar actor said glamorous roles are the path to becoming a performer

Kanchan VasdevKanchan is a Senior Assistant Editor with The Indian Express' Punjab b… read more


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *