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Shahkot bypolls: No big rallies, SAD and Congress canvass through ‘nukkad’ meetings

The SAD and Congress candidates are visiting around 15 villages every day and going door to door to garner votes.

punjab Updated: May 14, 2018 09:52 IST
Parampreet Singh Narula
Parampreet Singh Narula
Hindustan Times, Jalandhar
Congress candidate for Hardev Singh Ladi Sherowalia addressing a public meeting in village Jafarwal on the out skirts of Shahkot on Sunday.
Congress candidate for Hardev Singh Ladi Sherowalia addressing a public meeting in village Jafarwal on the out skirts of Shahkot on Sunday.(Pardeep Pandit/HT)
         

As the campaign for May 28 assembly bypolls in Shahkot constituency is picking up, the two major parties, the Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), have chosen small public meetings, instead of big rallies, to canvass for their respective candidates.

Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu and Punjab food and civil supplies minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu on Sunday formally started the campaign for party nominee Hardev Singh Ladi Sherowalia. Eleven other cabinet ministers, who have been asked to camp at Shahkot till the elections ,will land in the constituency in a day or two.

Bittu, while addressing a public meeting, said the Congress would win the Shahkot bypoll with a big margin.

Even as Ladi is in a thick of controversy as he was booked for illegal mining few hours after his declaration as a candidate, winning the bypoll has become a prestige issue for the Congress, which has been ruling the state for over a year.

However, the party has so far chalked out no schedule of any rallies to be addressed by chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh and state unit president Sunil Jakhar. The party had held a rally only on the day Ladi filed his nomination papers.

On the other side, senior SAD leader and former minister Bikram Singh Majithia will kickstart the campaign on Monday for party candidate Naib Singh Kohar, son of former MLA Ajit Singh Kohar whose death has necessitated the elections. Majithia will address a meeting of youths in the constituency.

SAD president and former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Bada, will land in Shahkot on Wednesday and address ten public meetings daily till the elections.

According to the SAD plan, Sukhbir, along with Naib and other leaders, will address meetings zone wise. The SAD has divided the constituency into 42 zones.

Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Rattan Singh Kakkarkalan, accompanied by party co-president Balbir Singh and leader of opposition in state assembly Sukhpal Singh Khaira, has also been holding public meetings in various villages to revive the lost ground of the party.

Both Ladi and Naib are visiting around 15 villages every day and going door to door to garner votes.

Interestingly, both of them are considering it a two-cornered fight, claiming that the AAP candidate will not get more than 3,000 votes.

Speaking in a public meeting, Ladi said, “Even as I was not an MLA, I ensured that development works were carried out here in the last one year since our government came into power. Former MLA Kohar, who remained a minister for two decades, failed to even construct his own village road.”

He also accused Kohar of selling drugs openly in the constituency.

On the other hand, Naib has been trying to make the most of the case registered against Ladi. He also hopes to get the sympathy of voters over his father’s death.

“My main motive is to accomplish the works which my father dreamt of and people will vote for the work my father had done in two decades,” Naib said while addressing a gathering.

Meanwhile, Captain Sandeep Sandhu, election campaign in-charge of Congress, said, “We will prepare the ground by meeting every voter in the constituency after which CM Amarinder and party president Jakhar will be invited to address the people, probably in last days of canvassing.”

First Published: May 13, 2018 22:46 IST

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