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Lok Sabha elections 2019: Anti-incumbency a challenge for Congress’s poll ambitions in Punjab

The Lok Sabha election is a mid-term test of popularity for the Captain Amarinder Singh-led Congress government in a multi-cornered fight in this border state.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: May 19, 2019 07:44 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Punjab ministers and Congress leaders Navjot Singh Sidhu and Manpreet Singh Badal in an election campaign roadshow.
Punjab ministers and Congress leaders Navjot Singh Sidhu and Manpreet Singh Badal in an election campaign roadshow.(PTI photo)
         

The Lok Sabha election is a mid-term test of popularity for the Captain Amarinder Singh-led Congress government in a multi-cornered fight in this border state. The Congress, which stormed to power with a two-thirds majority in March 2017 after a gap of 10 years, is facing the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) combine, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Punjab Democratic Alliance, a coalition of small parties, in the May 19 slugfest for the state’s 13 Lok Sabha constituencies.

The Congress, gung-ho about its electoral prospects following massive victories in two bypolls, municipal and panchayats elections in the past two years, is looking to continue its winning streak and had launched ‘Mission 13’ to make a clean sweep, as opposed to the three seats that it won in the 2014 general election.

However, the party has been weighed down by internal bickering, and anti-incumbency due to unkept poll promises, prompting the chief minister to issue a “perform-or-perish” warning to his ministers and legislators. The stakes are similarly high for the SAD-BJP coalition, but they too have been dealing with internal squabbles.

Lok Sabha Elections 2019, Phase 7 : Follow Live Updates here

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 since the 2015 sacrilege (in which the holy book was desecrated in a series of incidents, which resulted in widespread protests), but they have taken the Congress head on by countering its Panthic pitch by raking up the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, and Congress leader Sam Pitroda’s recent remarks about them that courted controversy.

For complete coverage of Lok Sabha Elections 2019, click here

The AAP, which won four seats in its debut in 2014, is in disarray. Though the party has fielded its candidates in all 13 seats, its battle is limited to Sangrur and Faridkot from where sitting MPs Bhagwant Mann and Sadhu Singh are in the fray. Rebel AAP leader Sukhpal Khaira, the PDA comprising Bahujan Samaj Party, Punjab Ekta Party and Communist Party of India among others, has muddied the waters.

Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal will eye a hat-trick from Bathinda, pitted against Congress MLA Amrinder Singh Raja Warring. Career diplomat-turned-politician, Hardeep Puri of the BJP is pitched against Congress’s sitting MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla in Amritsar. Actor Sunny Deol, who recently joined the BJP, will fight Punjab Congress president and sitting MP Sunil Jakhar. Former Union minister Preneet Kaur will contest from Patiala against sitting MP Dharamvira Gandhi of PDA.

“It is a close fight between the Congress and the SAD-BJP combine with the former facing anti-incumbency. The Akalis are on the path of resurgence from their low point of the 2017 state polls. Modi and his nationalism pitch are likely to work with urban Hindus. The sacrilege issue could help Congress in pockets of Malwa region, but a counter-narrative is being built on 1984 anti-Sikh riots after Pitroda’s hua toh hua remark,” Pramod Kumar, director, Institute for Development and Communication, said.

Chandigarh, BJP’s sitting MP Kirron Kher is up against former railways minister and four-time MP Pawan Kumar Bansal of the Congress. In 2014, Kher had defeated Bansal, who was sacked from the United Progressive Alliance government after his nephew was caught accepting a bribe for allegedly fixing a top appointment in the railway board. The AAP, which polled 24% votes with actor Gul Panag as its nominee, has fielded former Union minister Harmohan Dhawan.  

BIHAR
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
PUNJAB
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
CHANDIGARH
ChandigarhKirron Kher, BJP
HIMACHAL PRADESH
KangraShanta Kumar, BJP
HamirpurAnurag Thakur, BJP
MandiRamswaroop Sharma, BJP
ShimlaVirender Kashyap, BJP
JHARKHAND
GoddaNishikant Dubey, BJP
DumkaShibu Soren, JMM
RajmahalVijay Hansdak, JM
UTTAR PRADESH
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
MADHYA PRADESH (8)
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
WEST BENGAL
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 19, 2019 07:43 IST

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