Puneet Pal Singh
After the demise of vigorous leader of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and sitting MLA of Shahkot constituency Jathedar Ajit Singh Kohar bypoll is on cards. All political parties are already up for the Shahkot assembly bypoll. The questions comes that who will stand tall after the 2 decades political domination and five consecutive victories of Kohar. The assembly seat is said to be Akali Dal fortress in Doaba and continuous success of Kohar did not let any other leader establish themselves strongly. Now it will be interesting to see who will emerge from Shahkot constituency. The leaders who won from this region have stood tall in Punjab politics. Before Kohar Akali Dal’s Balwant Singh and Congress MLA Brij Bhupinder Singh Lali, both held ministries during their respective governments.After the 2017 Assembly polls Emerged as the opposition party of Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Aam Aadmi Party is also up to jump on the bypoll fray. AAP which had emerged rapidly in Punjab suffered crushing defeats after the Assembly polls as their candidate of Gurdaspur bypoll even lost his security deposit and the party also did not manage to get even single ward victory in MC elections. Shahkot bypoll is a question of respect for the party.In the previous elections of Punjab Vidhan Sabha, AAP candidate Amarjit Singh Thind gave strong competition to the SAD as well as Congress candidate receiving more than 40,000 votes, very close to the Congress candidate Hardev Singh Laddi with 42,008 votes and winning candidate of SAD Ajit Singh Kohar with 46,913 votes. While on AAP source said that the party has not officially decided to contest in the bypoll, but certainly it will.On the other hand, Punjab Congress seems to be on its toes to capture the strong hold of Akalis. Congress has already started its preparations for bypoll and senior leaders have already started visiting the rural areas. Where on the one side Ajit Singh Kohar’s bhog ceremony was going on, at the same point Congress Minister Tript Rajinder Bajwa was luring the villagers with grants at Dhanowal village to attract rural population. However, the lobbying for the ticket has been started by the aspirants. Prominent among them are Hardev Singh Laddi Sherowalia, Capt Harminder Singh and Dr Navjot Singh Dhayia.Shahkot Assembly seat has always been the stronghold of Shiromani Akali Dal as Jathedar Ajit Singh Kohar triumphed the seat every time since 1997. However, after the demise of Jathedar, Akali Dal must have to suffer the loss, but Shahkot seat is hard to win over from SAD. There are talks in the local leaders’ circle that SAD is most likely to field a candidate from Kohar family for the Shahkot by-election. Ajit Singh Kohar’s son Naib Singh Kohar could be named as SAD’s candidate. On the other hand, the name of a grandson of Kohar, Bachitar Singh Kohar can also come up as earlier during 2017 Vidhan Sabha elections in the state, Akali Dal had discussed to field Bachitar Singh Kohar for Shahkot assembly seat. Bachitar have also served as director of the central cooperative bank at Jalandhar.
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