There are 13 Sikh candidates in the fray in the Delhi assembly polls schedule for February 7. On four seats, they are fighting each other. Nine Sikhs had made it to the assembly in 2013. Sikh vote in the national capital is estimated at 5-7% of the electorate, and is considered key on around 18 seats. AAP has fielded four Sikh candidates, while the Congress has fielded three.
The SAD’s all four candidates are Sikhs, though three of them are on BJP symbol. If those three are counted as Akali nominees, BJP has two Sikh candidates of its own. Congress and SAD have Sikhs as state unit presidents — Arvinder Singh Lovely and Manjit Singh GK. AAP has Ashutosh and BJP Satish Upadhyay as their Delhi unit heads. None of them is contesting.
Aam Aadmi Party: 4
Jarnail Singh (Rajouri Garden): Had made headlines when, while being a journalist, he hurled a shoe at the then Union home minister P Chidambram in 2009 over inaction in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. He remains popular among the riot victims, though he had lost the 2014 Lok Sabha contest from West Delhi.
Jarnail Singh (Tilak Nagar): Became MLA for the first time in 2013, and is seeking to win again from the constituency.
Jagdeep Singh (Hari Nagar): A life insurance agent, he had won the seat in 2013.
Avtar Singh Kalkaji (Kalkaji): A former member of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), he is locked in a contest with his one-time protégé Harmeet Kalka, who is the Akali candidate (on BJP ticket).
Shiromani Akali Dal: 4
Manjinder Singh Sirsa (Rajouri Garden): Richest candidate in Delhi poll fray came into politics in 2007 and became general secretary of the DSGMC and an MLA in 2013; has also remained councilor.
Harmeet Singh Kalka (Kalkaji): Had a sudden rise in politics, became first-time MLA in 2013, debuted as DSGMC member too. Facing his former mentor Avtar Singh Kalkaji of the AAP.
Jatinder Singh Shanty (Shahdara): A former municipal councillor, he remains popular in the area across the Yamuna.
Avtar Singh Hit (Hari Nagar): Veteran Akali leader in Delhi, lost the 2008 assembly polls by just 38 votes, and has thus not won any assembly polls. He did remain chairman of MCD west zone.
RP Singh (Rajendra Nagar): First-time MLA in 2013, BJP national secretary, and part of party chief Amit Shah’s team. Also close to senior BJP leader and Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, he had shot into the limelight in 1993 when he accompanied BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi for unfurling the national flag at Lal Chowk in Srinagar.
MS Dhir (Jangpura): A party-hopper, he went from the SAD to the AAP in 2013; won and became Vidhan Sabha speaker; joined the BJP recently.
Prahlad Singh Sawhney (Chandni Chowk): Four-time MLA who has been winning due to significant Muslim support even as the seat does not have much Sikh population.
Tarwinder Singh Marwah (Jangpura): Remained MLA for 15 years and was also a chief parliamentary secretary in the Sheila Dikshit government. At present an executive member of the DSGMC; also has his own party called Kendri Guru Singh Sabha Party.
Surinder Pal Singh Bittu (Timarpur): A protégé of senior Congress leader Jagdish Tytler, who is accused in 1984 riots, he remained MLA from 2008 to 2013.