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Lok Sabha election 2019: Big mid-term test for Amarinder Singh’s govt in Punjab in seventh phase

The Congress is hoping to continue its winning streak in a multi-cornered fight, but has been weighed down by internal squabbles and anti-incumbency.

lok sabha elections Updated: May 18, 2019 19:29 IST
Navneet Sharma
Navneet Sharma
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Lok sabha elections 2019,LOk Sabha elections in Punjab,Punjab Lok Sabha polls
Delhi chief minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal campaigns in Sangrur on Monday. The Congress, which stormed to power with a two-thirds majority in the 2017 assembly polls, is facing the SAD-BJP combine, AAP and the Punjab Democratic Alliance.(HT photo)

The Lok Sabha election this year will be a mid-term test of popularity for the Captain Amarinder Singh-led Congress government in the border state of Punjab, which will see a multi-cornered fight.

The Congress, which stormed to power with a two-thirds majority in the 2017 assembly polls after ten years, is facing the SAD-BJP combine, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Punjab Democratic Alliance, a coalition of small parties, in the seventh phase on May 19 for all the 13 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state.

Read: Full coverage of Lok Sabha elections 2019

The Congress, gung-ho about its electoral prospects following massive victories in two by-polls, municipal and panchayats elections in the past two years, is looking to continue its winning streak and had launched ‘Mission 13’ with fanfare to make a “clean sweep” as against three seats in 2014.

However, the ruling party has been weighed down by internal bickering and anti-incumbency due to unkept poll promises, prompting Amarinder Singh to issue a “perform-or-perish” warning to his ministers and legislators.

Read: Ferozepur, Akali citadel is a tough challenge

Similarly, the stakes are high for the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition and the AAP also. They have also grappled with internal squabbles, leading to splits and proliferation of splinter factions in the fray.

The SAD-BJP alliance had won six seats in the 2014 parliamentary elections before getting pushed to the number three position with its worst-ever tally in the 2017 state polls. The Akalis, particularly the Badals, have been on the back foot over the incident of the sacrilege of the Guru Granth Sahib and police firing incidents in 2015. But they have taken the Congress head-on by countering its Panthic pitch by raking up the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and role of Sajjan Kumar and other leaders.

Read: Hoshiarpur has never voted in same party since 1998

The AAP, which won four seats on its debut in the Lok Sabha election in 2014 and then came second in the assembly polls to become the third force in the state’s long-standing bipolar politics, is in disarray. Though the party has fielded its candidates in all the 13 seats, its poll battle is limited to Sangrur and Faridkot where sitting MPs Bhagwant Mann and Sadhu Singh are in the fray. In most other segments, its candidates could not match the campaign of their rivals.

Led by rebel AAP leader Sukhpal Khaira, the PDA comprising the Bahujan Samaj Party, Punjab Ekta Party and the Communist Party of India among others, is also in the fray.

The election narrative has been dominated by local issues such as sacrilege incidents, unfulfilled poll promises, unemployment and farmer suicides with the BJP’s nationalism pitch not finding an echo in several parts of the state.

Read: Congress has reigned in Punjab’s Jalandhar constituency

Union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri of the SAD and the BJP respectively are among the 278 candidates in the fray.

Harsimrat, the daughter-in-law of five-time former CM Parkash Singh Badal and wife of SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, is eyeing a hat-trick from the Bathinda Lok Sabha constituency. She is pitted against Congress MLA Amrinder Singh Raja Warring and Sukhpal Khaira.

Her husband, Sukhbir is taking on his one-time protégé and sitting MP Sher Singh Ghubaya, who switched sides to the Congress in March following a bitter spat with him, in Ferozepur, making them the only couple in the fray in the region.

A career diplomat-turned-politician, Puri is taking on Congress’ sitting MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla in Amritsar constituency in his first electoral outing. The most-watched electoral battle is the between Punjab Congress president and sitting MP Sunil Jakhar and actor Sunny Deol of the BJP whose roadshows have been a huge hit in Gurdaspur Lok Sabha constituency.

Also in the fray are Amarinder’s wife and former Union minister Preneet Kaur, contesting from Patiala constituencyagainst sitting MP Dharamvira Gandhi of PDA, and sitting AAP Bhagwant Mann who is locked in a triangular fight with five-time MLA Parminder Dhindsa of the SAD and businessman-turned-politician Kewal Dhillon of Congress.

In Fatehgarh Sahib, two retired IAS officers, Darbara Singh Guru of SAD and Dr Amar Singh of Congress, are battling it out.

The votes will be counted on May 23 along with the rest of the country.

ArrahRajkumar Singh, BJP
BuxarAshwini Kumar Choubey, BJP
SasaramChhedi Paswan, BJP
KarakatUpendra Kushwaha, RLSP
JahanabadArun Kumar, Rashtriya Lok Samta Party
NalandaKaushalendra Kumar, JD(U)
Patna SahibShatrughan Sinha, BJP (now with Congress)
PatliputraRam Kripal Yadav, BJP
Amritsar:Gurjeet Singh Aujla, Congress
Anandpur SahibPrem Singh Chandumajra, SAD
BathindaHarsimrat Kaur, SAD
Faridkot (SC)Sadhu Singh, AAP
Fatehgarh Sahib (SC)Harinder Singh Khalsa, AAP
FerozepurSher Singh Ghubaya, SAD
GurdaspurSunil Jakhar, Congress
Hoshiarpur (SC)Vijay Sampla, BJP
Jalandhar (SC)Santokh Singh Chaudhary, Congress
Khadoor SahibRanjit Singh Brahmpura, SAD (SAD-Taksali)
LudhianaRavneet Singh Bittu, Congress
PatialaDharamvira Gandhi, AAP
SangrurBhagwant Mann, AAP
ChandigarhKirron Kher, BJP
KangraShanta Kumar, BJP
HamirpurAnurag Thakur, BJP
MandiRamswaroop Sharma, BJP
ShimlaVirender Kashyap, BJP
GoddaNishikant Dubey, BJP
DumkaShibu Soren, JMM
RajmahalVijay Hansdak, JM
BalliaBharat Singh, BJP
BansgaonKamlesh Paswan, BJP
ChandauliMahendra Nath Pandey, BJP
DeoriaKalraj Mishra, BJP
GhazipurManoj Sinha, BJP
GhosiHarinarayan Rajbhar, BJP
GorakhpurPraveen Kumar Nishad, SP
Kushi NagarRajesh Pandey, BJP
RobertsganjChhotelal, BJP
SalempurRavindra Kushwaha, BJP
VaranasiNarendra Modi, BJP
MirzapurAnupriya Patel, Apna Dal
MaharajganjPankaj Chaudhary, BJP
DewasManohar Untwal, BJP
DharSavitri Thakur, BJP
IndoreSumitra Mahajan (BJP)
KhandwaNandkumar Singh Chouhan (BJP)
KhargoneSubhash Patel, BJP
MandsaurSudhir Gupta, BJP
RatlamKantilal Bhuria, Congress
UjjainProf Chintamani Malviya, BJP
BarasatKakali Ghosh Dastidar, Trinamool
BasirhatIdris Ali, Trinamool Congress
JoynagarPratima Mondal, Trinamool Congress
MathurapurChoudhury Mohan Jatua, Trinamool Congress
Diamond HarbourAbhishek Banerjee, Trinamool Congress
Kolkata SouthSubrata Bakshi, Trinamool Congress
JadavpurSugata Bose, Trinamool Congress
Kolkata NorthSudip Bandyopadhyay, Trinamool Congress
DumdumSaugata Roy, Trinamool Congress

First Published: May 18, 2019 14:01 IST

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