Chandigarh: The political battle has heated up in the Jalandhar ahead of the Lok Sabha by-election. It is a multi-corner contest between the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Congress, Akali Dal and BJP.
AAP has fielded turncoat Sushil Rinku, a former Congress MLA from Jalandhar West Constituency. Similarly, BJP candidate Inder Iqbal Atwal joined BJP after quitting Akali Dal. AAP and BJP did not show faith in any of their leaders.
The Congress, however, has fielded Karamjit Kaur, wife of late MP Santokh Singh Chaudhary. The Akali Dal has given ticket to Dr. Sukhwinder Sukhi, MLA from Banga.
Chaudhary Santokh Singh, Congress MP from Jalandhar died during Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra. Now, his wife and Congress party is banking on the sympathy votes.
It is a crucial elections as all political parties are considering this election as the semi-final of the next to the 2024 general elections. After losing Sangrur by-election, AAP can’t afford to face another embarrassment ahead of the crucial Lok Sabha elections next year.
The Congress wants to regain its base after losing the government in the last election. While the BJP wants to show a strong presence as it is for the first time contesting alone and the Akali Dal wants to regain its dominance as a regional party.
CM Mann led government campaigning aggressively
It is a high-stake battle for the ruling AAP party. The ruling AAP does not want to lose Jalandhar after losing the Sangrur by-election. This may not only shock them in 2024 but will also assess the performance of the government in the state.
Therefore, the Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann led AAP Ministers have been aggressively campaigning in the constituency for the past three weeks even AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal held a road show and visited several religious deras to ensure the win of its party candidate Rinku. CM Mann also held several roads shows and he is stated to be holding many more in the coming week.
Split in Congress raises concerns
It was a strong bation of Congress during the tenure of Santokh Chaudhary, but now after his death, it remains a challenge for the Congress to win this seat again. Poaching of senior Congress leaders by AAP and BJP is also make a dent in their cadre. Moreover, many senior leaders are reportedly not sharing good ties with Kaur’s son and Phillaur MLA Bikram Chaudhary and they are not canvassing for party in his presence, a senior party leader said.
BJP seeking vote on name of PM Modi
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has entered the Lok Sabha by-election on its own this time, keeping prime minister Narendra Modi’s name and his work ahead on the lines of the assembly elections. From cities to villages, digital publicity vehicles have been launched to highlight the achievements of the Centre.
Akali Dal concerned about saving cadre
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders are also losing their morale due to the crushing defeat in the assembly elections for two consecutive times. This is the reason why the break-up of leaders in the Shiromani Akali Dal is not ending. Aam Aadmi Party and BJP are constantly poaching their leaders to further weaken the party base.
There is no doubt that the Akali Dal has a base in the rural areas of Jalandhar, but in the city it is completely dependent on the Bahujan Samaj Party. In the city, the BJP has created a lot of dent by breaking Akali leaders. However, recent demise of SAD patron Parkash Singh Badal will also help the Akali Dal to gain some momentum and increase their vote share in the elections.