Turncoats change political equation in Doaba

As Assembly elections in the state draw near, several leaders resort to party-switching

Turncoats change political equation in Doaba

A pro-Capt Amarinder Singh camp MLA, Navtej Cheema has got installed hoardings across the Sultanpur Lodhi constituency wherein he projected Capt Amarinder Singh as ‘Captain for 2022’.

Tribune News Service

Deepkamal Kaur

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 9

This week two similar phenomena occurred in Kapurthala’s political scenario. Both Sukhpal Khaira and Sajjan Singh Cheema joined the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), respectively.

Five days ago, Khaira, who used to contest from Bholath on the Congress ticket, but had moved to the AAP ahead of the 2017 Assembly poll and later, floated his own party to contest the 2019 General Elections from Bathinda, has once again started batting for the Congress from his home turf.

(L-R) Sukhpal Khaira, Sajjan Singh Cheema

On Monday, Sajjan Singh Cheema, who had contested from the AAP from Sultanpur Lodhi during the 2017 Assembly poll and later, joined Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), joined the AAP once again. Cheema, it’s learnt, quit the SAD as they could not afford to ignore its senior leader and ex-minister Dr Upinderjit Kaur at this juncture and set another rebellion. Dr Upinderjit has twice lost to the Congress’ Navtej Cheema. The change has made it look like as if Sultanpur Lodhi will witness a triangular contest yet again during the 2022 Assembly poll.

‘Capt for 2022’ hoardings surface in Sultanpur Lodhi

Even Navtej Cheema has stepped up his political activities in the area. A pro-Capt Amarinder Singh camp MLA, he had hosted dinner for four other MLAs at his place, including Sukhpal Khaira, Khanna MLA Gurkirat Kotli, Gurpreet Singh GP from Bassi Pathana and Sukhpal Bhullar from Khem Karan.

Today, Navtej also got installed hoardings across the Sultanpur Lodhi constituency wherein he projected Capt Amarinder Singh as ‘Captain for 2022’. The hoardings read, ‘Sada sanjha naara, Captain dubara’.

Uncertainty in Jal Cantt

Doaba region, which remained politically quite dormant for the last four years, has all of a sudden become very active. The recent tough stance adopted by Jalandhar Cantonment MLA Pargat Singh challenging the position of Capt Amarinder Singh as the CM and reports of Kapurthala MLA Rana Gurjit Singh teaming up with Pargat had earlier made the region come in focus yet again.

The situation has led to many uncertainties, largely depending on whether Pargat would contest the 2022 Assembly elections from the Congress or not. If the situation arises wherein he decides to ultimately quit the party, there would remain a big question mark on who would contest on the Congress ticket from this segment. Other than ex-MLA Jagbir Brar, many more would contest from this seat, including AICC spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill, PUNSUP chairman Tejinder Bittu and the Kartarpur Improvement Trust chairman Rana Randhawa.

If Brar, who had contested from Nakodar in 2017, gets the ticket from Jalandhar Cantonment, the party will have to pitch in a candidate from Nakodar. With Pargat being quite close to Markfed chairman and ex-Nakodar MLA Amarjit Singh Samra and now their bonding changing into a relationship with Pargat’s daughter getting engaged to Samra’s grandson, there’s also a general perception that Pargat has become a bigger leader and was gaining strength in the region.

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