Chandigarh: Campaigning for the Jalandhar Lok Sabha by-election is in its last phase. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in the state is listing its achievements and banking on its one-year working including crackdown against former ministers in corruption cases.
At the same time, opposition parties Congress, Akali Dal and BJP are counting the flaws and attacking ruling party for over alleged deteriorating law and order situation and unemployment in the state.
Apart from this, Dalit voters plays a crucial role in deciding fate of the candidates in Jalandhar, the largest district of Doaba, which is a Dalit stronghold.
The Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat is dominated by Dalit voters. There are more than 16. 21 lakh voters in 9 assembly seats under Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat. Of these, 42% are from the Dalit community, who come from the Adi Dharmi community, including Ravidassia and Ramdasiya. For this reason, 4 out of 9 assembly seats are reserved.
Most of the Dalit voters are from the Ravidassia community. Dera Sachkhand Ballan, the largest religious place of Ravidassia society, is in Jalandhar. The role of Dera Sachkhand Balan is crucial and that is the reason senior leaders of all political parties make a bee line to pay obeisance at the dera ahead of the election. However, Dera has never directly supported any political party.
AAP, BJP field parachute candidates
This by-elections of Jalandhar is also interesting in terms of fielding candidates. The AAP, which lost by giving a ticket to a sarpanch in Sangrur, did not trust any of its leaders or volunteers here. Former Congress MLA Sushil Rinku, who joined the party just before the elections, was given the ticket.
The BJP also did not consider local leaders worthy of tickets. It inducted former Akali MLA Inder Iqbal Atwal into the party and fielded him as its candidate. Inder is the son of former Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha Charanjit Atwal, who contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections on an Akali Dal ticket from Jalandhar seat.
The Congress has fielded Karamjit Kaur, wife of its late MP Santokh Singh Chaudhary, in this bypolls. Chaudhary died of a heart attack during Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, which led to this by-elections 11 months before Lok Sabha elections.
Likewise, Akali Dal has also given ticket to Dr. Sukhwinder Sukhi, MLA from Banga seat of Nawanshahr district, ignoring local leaders. The BSP is also a partner in the alliance with the Akali Dal.
Will the Moosewala murder dent government like Sangrur?
Seeking justice for slain Sidhu Moosewala, his family and fans are campaigning in the Jalandhar against the ruling party. AAP lost the Sangrur bypolls, held shortly after murder of Moosewala, which led to resentment among the people against the AAP.
However, in comparison to Sangrur, 48% of the area in Jalandhar is urban. The government has also cracked the murder case by arresting over 30 people in this case. Therefore, Sidhu Moosewala factor is unlikely to put much impact on the equation of this polls.