Punjab Lok Sabha Elections: High-Stakes Contest Amidst Key Political Faces

Polling will be held for 13 Lok Sabha constituencies in Punjab this Saturday, featuring prominent candidates like former chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi. The multi-cornered contest includes parties like Congress, AAP, SAD, and BJP, all contesting individually for the first time since 1996 amidst a highly competitive electoral environment.

PTI | Chandigarh | Updated: 31-05-2024 16:37 IST | Created: 31-05-2024 16:37 IST
Punjab Lok Sabha Elections: High-Stakes Contest Amidst Key Political Faces
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Polling will be held Saturday for 13 Lok Sabha constituencies in Punjab, where former chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi, three-time MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal and four-time MP Preneet Kaur are in the fray.

The Union Territory of Chandigarh will also go to polls on Saturday.

Punjab is witnessing a multi-cornered contest in all the 13 Lok Sabha seats.

The INDIA bloc allies -- the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) -- are contesting the Lok Sabha polls separately while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) are fighting on their own for the first time since 1996.

The Sukhbir Badal-led SAD walked out of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in 2020 over the now-repealed three farm laws.

Besides the Congress, AAP, SAD and the BJP, two other parties, SAD (Amritsar) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), have also fielded their candidates.

The AAP, Congress, BJP, SAD, BSP and SAD (Amritsar) are contesting on all the 13 seats in Punjab.

Among the prominent faces, BJP nominee and four-time MP Preneet Kaur is seeking reelection from the Patiala parliamentary constituency.

Three-time MP and SAD's Harsimrat Kaur Badal and BJP's Parampal Kaur Sidhu, a former IAS officer, are trying their luck from Bathinda while former chief minister and Congress candidate Channi and BJP nominee Sushil Rinku are in the fray from the Jalandhar reserved constituency.

Former deputy chief minister 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 (NSA), is fighting from Khadoor Sahib while former diplomat and BJP nominee Taranjit Singh Sandhu and Congress candidate Gurjeet Singh Aujla are locked in a contest from Amritsar.

Of its 13 candidates, the AAP has fielded five cabinet ministers -- 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's Karamjit Singh Anmol and BJP's Hans Raj Hans are in the fray from Faridkot seat.

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

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Congress bagged eight of the 13 Lok Sabha seats. The SAD and the BJP, then fighting as allies, won two seats each. The AAP got just the Sangrur seat then.

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

In Chandigarh, BJP candidate Sanjay Tandon is pitted against Congress nominee and former Union minister Manish Tewari.

Punjab Chief Electoral Officer Sibin C on Friday said they are fully prepared to ensure free, fair and transparent elections in the state.

He emphasised that comprehensive arrangements have been made to provide all necessary facilities to the voters and maintain a secure and peaceful voting environment in the state.

A total of 328 candidates, including 26 women, are in the fray in Punjab while 19 candidates, comprising two women, are fighting the poll in Chandigarh, the officials said.

A total of 2,14,61,739 voters including 1,01,74,240 women and 773 transgenders are eligible to cast their vote in Punjab.

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

For the 13 Lok Sabha seats, a total of 24,451 polling stations have been set up, with 16,517 in villages and 7,934 in cities, according to the poll officials.

Polling will be held from 7 am till 6 pm.

Around 70,000 security personnel, including central forces, have been deployed in the wake of polling in 13 Lok Sabha seats on Saturday, said the Punjab CEO.

Besides, 1.20 lakh polling staff have been deployed for the polling in the state, he further said.

In the wake of the heat wave, the Punjab CEO said drinking water, shades, 'chabeel' (sweetened water), medical kits, oral rehydration solution (ORS), and the likes have been arranged at the polling stations.

A target of achieving more than 70 per cent voter turnout has been set for the Lok Sabha polls in Punjab.

A voter queue information system has been launched this time whereby the voters can check the length of the queues at their polling booths, they said.

Foolproof security arrangements have been made for the smooth conduct of polls, they said.

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

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