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Amit Shah’s meet with Badals: Akalis may push for swapping of Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur LS seats

Amit Shah in Chandigarh: The Akalis are likely to seek swapping of Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur Lok Sabha seats. The Jalandhar (reserve) seat, hitherto contested by SAD , has a large chunk of urban voters, traditionally considered the saffron vote bank.

punjab Updated: Jun 07, 2018 10:50 IST
Ravinder Vasudea
Ravinder Vasudea
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Chandigarh,BJP,Shiromani Akali Dal
BJP national president Amit Shah has been on an ally outreach campaign. He met Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai on Wednesday and is likely to meet Bihar CM Nitish Kumar too.(HT File )

Besides discussing contentious coalition issues, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and a section of the BJP’s local leadership are likely to push for swapping of the Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur Lok Sabha seats when the saffron party’s national president Amit Shah meets Akali patriarch Parkash Singh Badal and party chief Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday.

The idea of swapping has taken shape as the Jalandhar (reserve) seat, hitherto contested by SAD as per coalition formula, has a large chunk of urban voters, traditionally considered the saffron vote bank.

“The Hoshiarpur Lok Sabha constituency (currently represented by Union minister of state Vijay Sampla of BJP) has fewer urban voters as Hoshiarpur and Phagwara are the only two urban assembly seats in the parliamentary segment.

The other assembly segments in the constituency such as Tanda-Urmur, Bholath, Shri Hargobindpur, Mukerian, Dasuya, Chabbewal and Sham Chaurasi are predominantly rural. Whenever the BJP has won this seat it was due to a decisive lead from Akali-dominated rural areas,” said a SAD core committee member.

SAD has never won the Jalandhar seat after forming alliance with the saffron party.

In 1998, late prime minister Inder Kumar Gujral had won from the segment on the Janata Dal ticket with support from the Akalis. Gujral’s son and Akali leader Naresh Gujral and Sufi singer Hans Raj Hans had also lost from the seat while contesting on SAD ticket in 2002 and 2007.

It’s a fact that the urban voters, especially the Hindus, hardly vote for SAD.

This is the reason why the Congress takes huge leads from the four assembly segments in city areas of the Jalandhar constituency and SAD loses with a huge margin even after getting leads from rural areas of Nakodar, Shahkot, Adampur, Phillaur and Kartarpur,” said an Akali MLA from the district.

In the BJP, a group led by Vijay Sampla is backing the idea of swapping the seats.

Sampla, who won from the Hoshiarpur Lok Sabha segment in 2014, hails from Jalandhar and has nurtured his political career in the industrial town before contesting from neighbouring segment.

In case the seats are swapped and Sampla gets ticket from Jalandhar, it may help him curtail anti-incumbency against him too, a party leader from his Sampla group said.

Earlier, SAD has been raising the demand to contest from the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat keeping in mind with the holy city being the religious capital of Sikhs.

“Our party’s national president is meeting the SAD leadership on various coalition-related issues with the 2019 Lok Sabha polls on the main agenda. Every political aspect of parliamentary elections is likely to be discussed,” said state BJP chief Shwait Malik.

Shah, Badals to meet in MLAs’ flat

Amit Shah will meet former CM and Akali Dal patron Parkash Singh Badal and party chief Sukhbir Badal in the MLAs’ flats in Chandigarh where senior Badal resides during his stay in Chandigarh, it was learnt. The meeting will last for two hours and will be followed by lunch by senior SAD-BJP leaders.

Shah is also likely to meet some leading non-political personalities of Chandigarh, whose names were yet to be disclosed. Shah will go back to Delhi in the evening by boarding a plane from the Ambala air force station.

First Published: Jun 07, 2018 09:04 IST