The result of the Jalandhar parliamentary seat is not only going to decide who will represent the constituency in Parliament, but it will also decide the future of BJP legislative leader in Punjab assembly and forest minister Chuni Lal Bhagat.
Bhagat, who has always been under fire for his non-performance as minister both within the BJP and the SAD, is number three in the Punjab cabinet after chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his deputy Sukhbir in the capacity of BJP leader in the state assembly.
Even as he won two consecutive terms in the 2012 assembly elections by a margin of more than 11,000 votes from Jalandhar West assembly segment, a strong anti-incumbency against the SAD-BJP government is more visible in this constituency where voters had high expectations from him.
A dull response of his supporters during the rallies addressed by the chief minister and deputy CM a few days ago on different occasions was a manifestation of the same.
The Scheduled Caste (SC) face of the party in Doaba, Bhagat earlier held the crucial portfolio of local bodies in the Punjab cabinet but was shifted to forest department in September last year by the party high command.
During the poll campaign for Pawan Tinu, the 82-year-old minister was present in big rallies only while most of the local meetings were addressed by his son Mohinder Bhagat in his absence. There is huge pressure on him to provide a significant lead to the SAD-BJP combine candidate from the assembly segment he represents.
But he is in a catch-22 situation since his assembly segment has always been a Congress stronghold in the Lok Sabha polls in the past even as the BJP won the seat during the last two assembly polls.
In the 2009 parliamentary elections, the Congress had secured a lead of more than 12,000 votes from the segment.
Not surprisingly, Congress candidate Santokh Chaudhary got an enthusiastic response from voters during his rally and roadshow on Saturday.
For Tinu, however, the only plus point is that he has contested from the segment twice as the BSP candidate in 1997 and 2002.