Nawanshahr: Punjab having a huge NRI count, Nawanshahr comprises one of the key constituencies of Doaba region in the state. The constituency has close to 1.60 lakh voters, 40 per cent of whom are Dalits. Of the main political parties, SAD, AAP and BSP have already declared their candidates while Congress is yet to declare its list.
SAD has nominated former Markfed chairman Jarnail Singh Wahid for the seat, AAP has fielded former MLA and Congress MP Charanjit Singh Channi while BSP has fielded Nachchattar Pal, a resident of nearby Rahon.
In the last assembly poll, sitting congress MLA Guiqbal Kaur Babli had won the seat by securing 35,839 votes and had defeated her nearest rival Satinder Kaur Kariha of SAD by a margin of 1,818 votes.
BSP candidate Vinod Kumar Seeta had polled 29,736 votes to come third. Though going by the Congress’ stated policy to give tickets to all its sitting MLAs, Babli is likely to get the ticket this time too.
As per reports, she wants to pass on the baton to her son Angad Singh during this poll. Of late, it is Angad Singh who is active on the political scene in the constituency having organized a cricket tournament for the youth of entire assembly segment including those residing in villages, besides undertaking door to door campaign.
Organising the tournament was an effort on his part to connect with the youth with an eye on the ensuing assembly poll.
Interestingly, unverified reports here also do not rule out the Congress party fielding its recent entrant, Pargat Singh, from Nawanshahr seat for two reasons.
First, by doing this the party would hope to end fierce factionalism prevailing between the two factions; one- led by district president Satvir Singh Palli Jhikki and the other by Guriqbal Kaur Babli. Secondly, by fielding Pargat Singh, Congress could also hope to make a dent into SAD votes as he closely related to Satinder Kaur Kariha whose daughter-in-law is the sister-in-law of Pargat Singh. Further, personal efforts of CM Parkash Singh Badal, Kariha family and their supporters have not come out in open so far to support Wahid’s campaign.
Reports about Pargat contesting from Nawanshahr have been doing the rounds here earlier also whenever there were speculations that he could be joining the Congress party. Wahid is considered an outsider here. As of now, campaigning by the announced contestants is by means of door to door contact with voters, though BSP has also held an election rally in favour of its nominee. The seat has been a congress stronghold since early sixties with voters of Nawanshahr and Rahon towns being the deciding factor.
In the last poll, Congress had polled around 7,200 votes from Nawanshahr while nearly 5,000 votes had gone to SAD candidate. Apna Punjab Party (APP) candidate Ashwani Joshi, a former AAP supporter is also in the fray to play spoilsport for Channi, the AAP candidate.
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