‘Parachute candidates’ make fight riveting in Jalandhar : The Tribune India

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‘Parachute candidates’ make fight riveting in Jalandhar

Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat Rinku, Tinu, Channi battle ‘outsider’ tag, face ire from previous parties

‘Parachute candidates’ make fight riveting in Jalandhar

Pawan Tinu, Sushil Rinku, Charanjit Channi

Tribune News Service

Aparna Banerji

Jalandhar, April 21

While the battleground ahead of any elections in the recent years has always been marked by a series of party hoppers jumping ship right before the polls (out of disillusionment or mostly for better prospects) or arriving at the last minute to lay a claim to the seat, the Jalandhar Lok Sabha contest has been rendered very interesting this year with all three contestants fielded by the Congress, BJP and AAP being labelled as ‘parachute’ candidates. Jibes from rivals with prefixes like ‘outsider’, ‘titli’, ‘turncoat’ have been frequently employed to address them on the social media amidst heated campaigns.

While both BJP candidate Sushil Rinku and AAP candidate Pawan Tinu have each changed two parties before in their electoral careers, Congress candidate Charanjit Singh Channi, though not a party hopper, has traditionally served other constituencies. Tinu started his political journey with the BSP and was with the SAD for over a decade, Rinku quit the Congress ahead of the last bypoll, which he fought on the AAP ticket, and joined the BJP ahead of this year’s elections. Channi had contested the 2022 assembly election from Bhadaur and Chamkaur Sahib, losing both seats.

All of them grapple with the ‘outsider’ tag as they test their fate from the seat this year.

While both Tinu and Rinku faced ire on the social media for days, being called party hoppers, Channi faces criticism from several leaders of his own party who have directed their barbs towards him in the past few days, especially after the allocation of the ticket.

Interestingly, for AAP and BJP candidates, apart from the urgency of acquainting themselves in a new political set-up quickly before elections, they also face the wrath of their previous parties. Rinku who quit the Congress to join the AAP ahead of the 2023 bypoll faced severe criticism from the Congress then and this time he faces it from AAP which even gave him the ticket. The AAP workers are angry at him for abandoning them (and rendering futile their hard work done for him in the last elections). AAP candidate Pawan Tinu has also faced public anger from SAD leaders and workers who are dismissive of him, peeved for leaving them in the lurch.

From Congress, Phillaur MLA and Chaudhary family scion Vikramjit Singh Chaudhary has been Channi’s most vocal and fiercest critic on the seat, terming him an ‘outsider’ even before a single voice within the Congress opposed Channi’s Jalandhar claim. Veteran Congress leader Amarjit Singh Samra also joined the ranks, questioning ticket to Channi recently. Added to this chorus on Sunday was Congress leader and former MLA Sukhwinder Singh Danny Bandala, who questioned Channi over his commitment to uphold the rights of the Dalit community.

The SAD is yet to declare its candidate from Jalandhar.

Sushil Rinku won the 2023 Jalandhar bypoll with a margin of 58,000 votes, becoming AAP's lone MP from Punjab. Karamjit Chaudhary, his rival in the 2023 bypoll, also joined the BJP this year. She quit the Congress afterthe party gave the ticket to Charanjit Channi instead of her son MLA Vikramjit Chaudhary.

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