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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Congress sees every vote for AAP, Balkar to the benefit of SAD

Kamaldeep Singh Brar  Talwandi Sabo, August 19, 2014
First Published: 09:52 IST(19/8/2014) | Last Updated: 09:54 IST(19/8/2014)

Congress is a worried lot as Independent candidate Balkar Sidhu got a shot in the arm after Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), on Sunday, decided to extend support to him. The BSP candidate had secured more than 4,000 votes in 2012 assembly elections and 2,100 in the recently-held parliamentary polls.

Balkar has been running an impressive campaign as Independent since AAP took a U-turn on his nomination as a party candidate and decided to field Baljinder Kaur.

BSP’s decision at the eleventh hour to support Sidhu is going to create further division in the already divided anti-government vote bank in Talwandi Sabo.

The Dalit vote bank traditionally goes with the Congress and it was taking the BSP vote bank for granted, as the latter had not fielded any candidate in the by-election. It is not only Balkar Sihdu and BSP that affecting the prospects of the Congress but also AAP candidate Baljinder Kaur, who can also harm its vote bank.

With Sikh militancy background, Baljinder Kaur’s father Darshan Singh had secured nearly 10,000 votes in 2010 Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections. It was actually the Congress vote bank that was polled against SAD candidate in the SGPC election.

Congress’ Harminder Singh Jassi is relative of Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and this profile can divert Sikh votes of the Congress towards the AAP.

Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa termed the AAP “B team of the SAD” and said: “Each vote to it would only end up helping the Akali Dal candidate.”

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