Chandigarh: With 69 seats in Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Malwa stands as an elder brother to Majha and Doaba regions of the state. As we all know that since the reorganisation of the state, every chief minister has come from Malwa, the region is likely to keep the prestigious state for once again as the SAD-BJP alliance has projected Parkash Singh Badal as its face and from Congress side it’s Captain Amarinder Singh.
SAD-BJP and Congress have declared their CM faces but the AAP is yet to reveal its cards despite Bhagwant having been expressed the desire at times
Though Amarinder is contesting his traditional seat Patiala too, this is for the first time that he has dared the five-time chief minister Parkash Singh Badal at his home turf Lambi too. Interestingly, Lambi and Patiala (urban) both fall in Malwa region.
The AAP has not yet declared its CM face but Bhagwant Mann nurses this dream quite ambitiously and he is contesting against SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal from Jalalabad, again a seat that lies in Malwa region.
Further, Lehragaga seat is also witnessing the clash of titans as former chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Punjab finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa are in direct contest there, which is also happening for the first time.
The estranged nephew of Parkash Singh Badal, Manpreet Singh Badal is this time contesting from Bathinda (urban) on Congress ticket against the sitting MLA Sarup Chand Singla. As Manpreet had trailed Harsimrat with 30,000 votes in Lok Sabha elections 2014 from Bathinda (urban), though he lost over all, this contest is again seeing with much interest, thanks to Badal family’s special love for the city.
The Indian Youth Congress president Amarinder Singh Raja Warring is re-contesting his seat Gidderbaha, this time against transporter Hardeep Singh ‘Dimpy’ Dhillon. Former CMs Beant Singh and Harcharan Singh Brar’s family members are also the candidates from this region only.
Meanwhile, Malwa is also seeing various rebels of Congress contesting against the party candidates, including Rajinder Deepa from Sunam against official candidate Daman Thind Bajwa and Mohinder Singh Rinwa from Fazilka against Davinder Singh Ghubaya.
Notably, Dera Sacha Sauda has now openly come in the support of SAD-BJP alliance. Though the Dera claims its followers being settled across the state, the Dera’s major votebase is in Malwa region.
Difficult to predict future in Majha
Amritsar: Going strong in Malwa region, the AAP has not made much impact in Majha as the third alternative to SAD-BJP alliance and the Congress. There are 25 seats in Majha belt comprising Amritsar (11), Gurdaspur (7), Pathankot (3) and Tarn Taran (4). The alliance had won 24 of these seats in the 2007 elections, but it won only 17 in 2012.
This time around the Congress is expected to surge ahead of its competitors though it had bagged only eight seats in the previous elections in 2012. The anti-incumbency factor is weighing heavily this time.
AAP may give tough fight in some constituencies in Majha but it is not in a position to show impressive victory. AAP’s state convener Gurpreet Singh Ghuggi, is likely to fare well in comparison to others in the Batala constituency.
Navjot Singh Sidhu, a late entrant in the campaign, has been attracting huge crowds in his rallies but it remains to be seen how many people translate into votes.
Those contesting for the ruling alliance include Nirmal Singh Kahlon (Fatehgarh Churian), Bikram Singh Majithia (Majitha), CM’s son-in-law Adaish Partap Singh Kairon (Patti), former Education Minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan (Qadian), former Agriculture Minister Sucha Singh Langah (Dera Baba Nanak), Animal Husbandry Minister Gulzar Singh Ranike (Attari), former Rural Development Minister Ranjit Singh Brahmpura’s son Ravinder Singh Brahmpura (Khadoor Sahib), Cabinet Minister Anil Joshi (Amritsar North) and former state BJP chief Ashwani Sharma (Pathankot).
Among the Congress rebels, Mandeep Singh Manna is taking on Sidhu, while Maninder Singh Palasaur is challenging party candidate Inderbir Singh Bolaria (Amritsar South). Congress MLA Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa is pitted against his nephew, APP candidate Deepinder Singh Randhawa, while BJP’s Joshi is facing his former aide Manish Aggarwal, who is contesting on the AAP ticket.
All eyes on four reserve seats of Jalandhar
Jalandhar: Even as the ruling SAD-BJP alliance was seeking votes for third term, Congress and AAP was vocal about a neck to neck fight in Jalandhar.
Out of the total nine seats of Jalandhar, all eyes were on the four reserve seats, which would reveal the voting trend of Ravidassia and Valmiki community in this Dalit belt of Doaba.
While Congress was claiming its return to power owing to the fact that Dalits were supporting them, AAP was eyeing votes claiming that people were fed up by both Akalis and Congress.
A stiff competition was being witnessed in four reserve seats namely Jalandhar West, Kartarpur, Phillaur and Adampur seats.
As Doaba has remained a traditional Congress stronghold, the party has fielded three new faces ie Sushil Rinku from Jalandhar West, Surinder Chaudhary from Kartarpur and Vikramjit Singh Chaudhary from Phillaur. In Adampur, Congress banked on ex-Jalandhar MP Mohinder Singh Kaypee.
Similarly, SAD-BJP preferred to field BJP’s Mohinder Bhagat from Jalandhar West, Seth Satpal Mal from Kartarpur, ex BSP leader Baldev Khaira from Phillaur and sitting MLA Pawan Kumar Tinu from Adampur constituency.
On the other hand AAP, the rookie party was a new entrant into Punjab politics, hence new faces in fray for polls. The AAP strategist Arvind Kejriwal fielded Valmiki leader Chandan Grewal from Kartarpur, Hans Raj Rana from Adampur, Darshan Lal Bhagat from Jalandhar West and Sarup Singh Kadiana from Phillaur reserve seat. DP
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