Punjab Showdown: Political Titans Clash in High-Stakes Lok Sabha Polls

The high voltage campaign for Punjab's 13 Lok Sabha seats has concluded, as political heavyweights like Preneet Kaur, Charanjit Singh Channi, and Harsimrat Kaur Badal vie for victory. Senior leaders from major parties, including BJP, Congress, and AAP, have intensely campaigned, setting the stage for a fierce multi-cornered contest.

PTI | Chandigarh | Updated: 30-05-2024 18:06 IST | Created: 30-05-2024 18:06 IST
Punjab Showdown: Political Titans Clash in High-Stakes Lok Sabha Polls
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High voltage campaigning for Lok Sabha polls to all 13 seats in Punjab came to an end Thursday, in which political prestige of four-time MP Preneet Kaur, former chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi and SAD's Harsimrat Kaur Badal is at stake.

Among other prominent candidates in the June 1 election -- the last phase of the Lok Sabha polls -- are Ravneet Singh Bittu and jailed radical preacher Amritpal Singh.

Election campaign in Chandigarh parliamentary constituency also ended at 6 pm. For the seat, the main contest is between BJP's Sanjay Tandon and Congress' Manish Tewari.

Polling will be held from 7 am to 6 pm on June 1, said officials.

In Punjab, where the ruling AAP and its INDIA bloc partner Congress are fighting separately in a multi-cornered contest, the high-decibel campaign saw the participation of senior BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and Nirmala Sitharaman, BJP chief J P Nadda and chief ministers of BJP-ruled states.

For the Congress, party president Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were among top leaders to campaign for their party candidates.

Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal, out on interim bail in the excise policy case, also led an aggressive campaign for his party candidates along with Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal led his party's campaign across the state.

As many as 328 candidates, including 26 women, are in the fray in Punjab while in Chandigarh, 19 candidates, including two women, are trying their electoral luck. A total of 2,14,61,739 people, including 1,01,74,240 women and 773 transgender persons, are eligible to cast their votes in Punjab.

In Chandigarh, there are 6,59,805 voters comprising 3,18,226 women and 35 trans persons are eligible to exercise their franchise.

The Chandigarh seat is currently held by the BJP. However, this time incumbent MP Kirron Kher was denied re-nomination.

As far as Punjab goes, in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Congress bagged eight of the 13 seats. The SAD and the BJP, then fighting as allies, won two seats each. The Aam Aadmi Party got just the Sangrur seat then.

Following the Sangrur and Jalandhar bypolls in 2022 and 2023 respectively, the Congress left with seven seats while the SAD and BJP have two each and AAP and SAD (Amritsar) one each.

In this election, the BJP and SAD are contesting the Lok Sabha polls on their own for the first time since 1996. The Sukhbir Badal-led party walked out of the NDA in 2020 over the now-repealed farm laws.

Punjab will witness a multi-cornered contest on all 13 seats in the polls. Besides the Congress, AAP, SAD and BJP, two other parties -- SAD (Amritsar) and the Bahujan Samaj Party -- have also fielded their candidates.

Among prominent candidates, BJP nominee and four-time MP Preneet Kaur is seeking re-election from the Patiala parliamentary constituency. Earlier, she was with the Congress.

Three-time MP and SAD's Harsimrat Kaur Badal and BJP's Parampal Kaur Sidhu, who was a former IAS officer, are trying their luck from Bathinda.

Former CM and Congress candidate Channi and BJP nominee Sushil Rinku are in the fray from Jalandhar (reserve) constituency, while former deputy CM Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and BJP candidate Dinesh Babbu are fighting from Gurdaspur.

Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring is contesting against BJP's Ravneet Singh Bittu from Ludhiana.

Radical Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh, who is lodged in Assam's Dibrugarh jail under the National Security Act, is fighting from Khadoor Sahib while former diplomat and BJP nominee Taranjit Singh Sandhu and Congress candidate Gurjeet Singh Aujla are contesting from Amritsar.

Among its candidates, the AAP has fielded five Cabinet ministers including“ Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal (Amritsar), Laljit Singh Bhullar (Khadoor Sahib), Gurmeet Singh Khuddian (Bathinda), Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer (Sangrur) and Balbir Singh (Patiala).

Congress candidate Sukhpal Khaira is contesting from Sangrur while AAP and BJP candidates Karamjit Singh Anmol and Hans Raj Hans are in the fray from Faridkot seat, respectively.

SAD (Amritsar) chief Simranjit Singh Mann is contesting from Sangrur seat and Sarabjeet Singh Khalsa, who is the son of Beant Singh, one of the two assassins of prime minister Indira Gandhi, is contesting from the Faridkot (reserve) constituency.

PM Modi held four rallies in Patiala, Gurdaspur, Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur and attacked the Congress, accusing it of playing appeasement politics.

In Patiala on May 23, Modi raised the emotive issue of Kartarpur corridor to target the Congress while noting that more than 90,000 Pakistani soldiers surrendered in the 1971 Indo-Pak War and asserted that if he had been in power he would have taken Kartapur Sahib from Pakistan before freeing their troops.

Calling Bhagwant Mann as ''kagazi'' CM, Modi alleged that Mann cannot take decisions on his own and that he had to go to Tihar Jail in Delhi to take orders from Kejriwal.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi held a rally in Amritsar on May 25 while his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra held rallies in Khanna, Patiala and Chandigarh on May 26.

In his rallies, Rahul Gandhi lashed out at the BJP, alleging that it will change the Constitution if it wins the general elections while Priyanka Gandhi lashed out at the Centre, asking why there is no prosperity in the lives of people if the country's economy is growing at a rapid pace.

In his campaign, AAP supremo Kejriwal alleged that PM Modi does not have a single work to show in the last 10 years on the basis of which he can seek votes from people.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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