Amritsar LS bypoll: As Chinna gets BJP ticket, it’s Sikh versus Sikh contest
With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fielding its former state vice-president Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina from the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat for February 4 bypoll, the constituency is set for a Sikh versus Sikh contest.punjab Updated: Jan 12, 2017 19:22 IST
With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fielding its former state vice-president Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina from the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat for February 4 bypoll, the constituency is set for a Sikh versus Sikh contest.
The Congress has already finalised the name of its District Congress Committee (rural) president Gurjit Singh Aujla for this seat having 64% Sikh voters.
Chinna, who has been active in the BJP for the past several years, had contested the 2007 assembly elections from Amritsar (West) but was defeated by Congress nominee OP Soni.
Chinna, who is honorary secretary of the Khalsa College Governing Council, is also a staunch opponent of former BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu.
His proximity with Union finance minister Arun Jaitley and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders, especially cabinet minister Bikram Majithia, played a pivotal role in getting him the ticket.
The BJP has gone back to a Sikh face after its Hindu candidate Arun Jaitley was humbled by Capt Amarinder Singh of the Congress in 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
During the past four elections, Amritsar Lok Sabha seat has seen Sikh candidates defeating Hindu nominees. This seems a major factor behind main parties betting on a Sikh face in this constituency.
In 2004, BJP fielded Navjot Sidhu who toppled the Congress big gun RL Bhatia with a margin of over one lakh votes.
Sidhu continued with his winning streak in 2007 bypoll by defeating Congress candidate Surinder Singla and then beating Congress nominee OP Soni in 2009 polls.
But when the BJP dropped Sidhu in 2014 and fielded Arun Jaitley, it suffered a big loss as Amarinder Singh left him bruised by a margin of over one lakh votes.
After Sidhu quit the BJP, the party was looking for a Sikh face. Chinna turned out to be the best choice for the saffron party as he will not only depend on the BJP-dominated urban segments, but also expects good support in SAD-dominated rural segments.
As for the Congress choice this time, the 43-year-old Aujla has been picked by the party due to his proximity with Amarinder, besides his influence in rural areas.
He was a contender for the Congress ticket from Ajnala assembly seat, but party allotted him the Lok Sabha ticket.
Aujla was first made the District Congress Committee (DCC) chief in 2013 by then state party chief Partap Singh Bajwa. In 2014 Lok Sabha Polls, Aujla worked tirelessly for Amarinder’s victory and the latter rewarded him with the post of DCC chief in 2016.
First Published: Jan 12, 2017 13:09 IST