BJP under pressure to retain Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat
Since the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat has been a Hindu stronghold, party is hoping to regain the lost ground with “Modi magic” and aggressive campaigningpunjab Updated: Sep 13, 2017 21:45 IST
It will be a challenge for the BJP to retain the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat that fell vacant after the death of Bollywood actor Vinod Khanna. The bypoll will also be the first test of the leadership abilities of ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal.
A four-time BJP MP, Khanna had won the seat by a huge margin of 1.3 lakh votes by defeating Congress’ Partap Singh Bajwa. But with change of guard in the state, political equations have changed and the saffron party is finding itself on the losing wicket.
The BJP contested four of the nine assembly segments falling under the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat. But it could win only the Sujanpur seat in the assembly polls. Erosion of support in some segments — it lost by 27,496 votes in Bhoa, 11,170 votes in Pathankot and 31,917 in Dinanagar — is worrying the BJP. Factionalism is also haunting the saffron party.
However, the party’s ally SAD’s support base has remained intact even as the Congress managed to win four out of five seats in the segment.
Barring in Qadian and Gurdaspur, where the Congress won by 11,737 and 28,966 votes, the SAD lost Fatehgarh Churian by 1,999 votes and Dera Baba Nanak by 1,194 votes.
Since the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat has been a Hindu stronghold, party is hoping to regain the lost ground with “Modi magic” and aggressive campaigning. “We will contest the bypoll on the achievements of the Modi government and failures of the Amarinder government,” said state BJP chief Vijay Sampla.
Sukhbir’s tour to the segment is likely to give a much-needed boost to the party in the segment. “Sukhbir is known to have won every bypoll while in power. Real test lies in Gurdaspur now as his party is not even the main opposition in the assembly. It’s a test of his commandership as well,” a political expert said.