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Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Akali Dal likely to field former Punjab assembly speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal from Jalandhar

In the absence of a formidable face from Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat, the Shiromani Akali Dal is said to have made up its mind to go with former Punjab Assembly speaker and two-time MP, Charanjit Singh Atwal in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

lok sabha elections Updated: Feb 28, 2019 15:07 IST
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
jalandhar LS seat,lok sabha elections,LS polls
Akali Dal leader and former speaker of Punjab Assembly, Charanjit Singh Atwal (HT File )

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is all set to field former Punjab Vidhan Sabha speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal from the Jalandhar constituency for the Lok Sabha elections.

Atwal (81), who was also the Lok Sabha deputy speaker from 2004 to 2009, is a three-time MLA and two-time MP.

In the absence of a formidable face from Jalandhar, the party is said to have made up its mind to go with the old war horse and a staunch Badal loyalist.

Though a formal announcement from the party high command about his candidature is yet to be made, Atwal has started holding political meetings in the segment. “I have started meeting party workers in Jalandhar. An announcement by the party will follow soon,” Atwal said.

The decision came after the party failed to swap the Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur seats with its coalition partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The saffron party has already given a go-ahead for sitting MP Vijay Sampla, a Union minister, from the seat. But in recently held talks between BJP national president Amit Shah and SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, the possibility for a swap was ruled out.

Also, Sampla had rejected an offer by Sukhbir Badal in a coordination committee meeting of the two coalition partners. Sukhbir had offered Sampla Jalandhar, the latter’s hometown, and vacate Hoshiarpur for the Akali Dal.

During the previous parliamentary polls in 2014, SAD had fielded Pawan Kumar Tinu (Adampur MLA) from Jalandhar but he lost to Congress’ Santokh Singh Chaudhary by a margin of 71,000 votes.

Earlier, Atwal was trying to get party ticket either for himself or his son Inderiqbal Singh from the Fatehgarh Sahib segment.

Now, SAD is likely to choose between Justice (retd) Nirmal Singh, a former MLA, and Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) member Bikramjit Singh Khalsa from the Fatehgarh Sahib seat.

First Published: Feb 28, 2019 15:07 IST