Once faced each other in Vidhan Sabha polls two years ago, Jaitu MLA Master Baldev Singh and former Bhadaur MLA Mohd Sadique are now all set to take on each other in Lok Sabha polls too. This time their battleground is Faridkot parliament seat. Interestingly, Master Baldev Singh, who had won the Assembly seat on AAP ticket, is now the candidate from Sukhpal Khaira led Punjab Ekta Party (PEP), which is contesting two seats in the state as a part of the Punjab Democratic Alliance.
On the other, noted Punjabi singer and former Bhadaur MLA Mohd Sadique is the Congress nominee. In the 2017 elections, while Master Baldev Singh had bagged 45,344 votes, his nearest rival Mohd Sadique could get 35,351 votes. While Master Baldev Singh was the first timer contestant, Sadique had won the first elections in 2012 from Bhadaur Assembly segment in Barnala district. That time he had defeated the SAD candidate Darbara Singh Guru, a retired IAS officer. Unwilling to accept the defeat, Guru had challenged his caste certificate.
Considering the election petition, the Punjab and Haryana High court had even cancelled the membership of Sadique from Vidhan Sabha, which he challenged in Supreme Court and got his position back. With the parties have now decided to put big responsibilities on their shoulders, the two are contesting for Faridkot Lok Sabha seat, which comprises of Faridkot, Kotkapura, Jaitu, Rampura Phul, Moga, Dharamkot, Gidderbaha, Nihal Singh Wala and Bagha Purana. While the two expect their state heads to come in their support, they have launched their poll campaigns. To make the contest more interesting, the Shiromani Akali Dal on Saturday fielded its former minister Gulzar Singh Ranike from Faridkot.
Though Ranike is a leader of Majha region, the Akali Dal is hoping him to be the best choice to get the SC votes as the seat is reserved for the scheduled caste candidate. It is learnt that former Congress MLA Joginder Singh Panjgrain had also switched his loyalty to the Shiromani Akali Dal a few weeks ago with a hope to get the party ticket to contest the Lok Sabha polls. But, the core committee rejected his claim, stating that he couldn’t yet gather cadre’s support in the field.
Meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had announced the candidature of its sitting MP Professor Sadhu Singh from there about six months ago. A retired professor of English, Sadhu Singh had defeated the SAD’s Paramjit Kaur Gulshan in his maiden attempt in 2014 with a margin of 1.72 lakh votes. Now with all players being in the field, the political observers expect the constituency to see a four-cornered contest with none among them having an edge on the others for each of them being entangled in their different issues and controversies.
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