Battlelines have been drawn for the two seats covering the scheduled castedominated Doaba region with the Congress shifting its sitting Jalandhar MP Mohinder Singh Kaypee to Hoshiarpur and fielding former minister and senior leader Chaudhary Santokh Singh from Jalandhar.
Initially, Kaypee was reluctant to shift his seat to Hoshiarpur, but the party high command’s wish prevailed keeping in view the strong anti-incumbency against Kaypee and his nonperformance as MP.
Hoshiarpur MP and union minister of state for health and family welfare Santosh Chaudhary has been denied the ticket after her poor show as MP and the open revolt against her by the local unit of the party on several occasions.
With Santokh, a renowned Dalit of the party, contesting from Jalandhar, the seat is set for an interesting contest between fresh faces from the SAD and Congress.
The SAD has already declared sitting Adampur MLA and chief parliamentary secretary Pawan Kumar Tinu, the Dalit face of the party in Doaba, as its candidate.
Santokh is two-time MLA and contested the 2012 assembly polls unsuccessfully from Phillaur (reserved) constituency where he lost by 33 votes. Even as Santokh’s son and state youth Congress chief Vikramjit Chaudhary was also in the race the father was preferred for his experience and clean image.
In Hoshiarpur, Kaypee will face BJP’s Vijay Sampla, a fresh face from the saffron party. It will be difficult for Kaypee to shed the tag of a non-performer as Jalandhar MP.
Sources in the Congress said that initially Kaypee was reluctant to shift his constituency but finally got ready after Sampla was made the BJP nominee from Hoshiarpur. The Kaypee camp thinks Sampla is comparatively a weaker candidate.
Meanwhile, in Jalandhar, supporters of Santokh celebrated his ticket. “Santokh is a senior leader who is sure to outshine Tinu,” said state Congress secretary Anil Dutta.