Ruchika M Khanna
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 21
The electoral process in Punjab begins tomorrow (Monday) with the filing of nominations. The state goes to the polls along with Chandigarh (1), Himachal Pradesh (4), Uttar Pradesh (13), Bihar (8 constituencies), Jharkhand (3), Madhya Pradesh (8) and West Bengal (9) on May 19.
ThePunjab Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have announced candidates for all 13 seats. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is yet to announce its candidates for two crucial seats — Bathinda and Ferozepur. Speculation is rife over sitting Akali MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal being renominated from Bathinda and SAD president Sukhbir Badal contesting from neighbouring Ferozepur.
Over the past few days, the couple has stepped up campaigning in these constituencies. The BJP, an ally of the SAD, will contest three of the 13 seats. It has fielded Union Minister Hardeep Puri from Amritsar. It is yet to announce candidates for Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur.
Sukhpal Singh Khaira-led Punjabi Ekta Party has brought factions of various parties under the umbrella of Punjab Democratic Alliance (PDA), which has declared its nominees for all parliamentary seats. The SAD breakaway group, Akali Dal (Taksali) is caught in a “now o, now off” alliance with the PDA. Though an understanding has been reached on the Khadoor Sahib seat in favour of Bibi Paramjit Kaur Khalra, there is no formal understanding for the remaining seat yet. The party has fielded two candidates, one from Anandpur Sahib and the other Sangrur.
The poll battle in Punjab will be different this time with all three main political parties facing dissent. Both AAP and SAD, which faced rebellion much before the poll process was set in motion, seem well prepared now having weathered the storm. However, the ruling Congress continues to grapple with rebellion after declaration of candidates.
Reserved seats 4
Third gender 507
Polling stations 23,213
- April 29: Last day for nominations
- April 30: Scrutiny of papers
- May 2: Last date for withdrawals
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