Ludhiana, January 12
The first-timer Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had sprung a surprise by winning three Assembly seats in Ludhiana, the state’s biggest district, in terms of the area and population, in its maiden electoral battle during the 2017 Vidhan Sabha elections.
However, it was left with just one MLA at present after one of its legislators – Harvinder Singh Phoolka from Dakha resigned in 2018 – while another MLA Jagtar Singh Jagga Hissowal from Raikot switched over to the ruling Congress in November last.
In the 2019 by-poll, necessitated due to Phoolka’s resignation, the state’s principal Opposition party’s nominee Amandeep Singh Mohie could not even save his security deposit as he got only 2,804 votes, which were not even one-sixth of the total polled votes.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidate, Manpreet Singh Ayali, who lost to Phoolka in 2017, emerged victorious in the by-poll.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led party’s nominees had ended runners-up on six other Assembly constituencies in the district, which sends 14 MLAs, maximum in any district and almost 12 per cent of the total 117 legislators in the state, in the 2017 polls.
Of the three AAP MLAs, who won in the last Assembly elections, Saravjit Kaur Manuke had registered the highest victory margin of 25,576 votes and defeated the Congress heavyweight Malkit Singh Dakha in her first electoral battle from Jagraon.
She was rewarded with the post of Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. Manuke polled 61,521 votes while 35,945 votes were cast in Dakha’s favour.
While Phoolka had defeated Ayali by 4,169 votes and Hissowal had trounced Congress’ Amar Singh by a margin of 10,614 votes. Phoolka had polled 58,923 votes against Ayali’s 54,754 votes while Hissowal had got 48,245 votes against 37,631 votes polled by Amar Singh, who was later elected Congress MP from Fatehgarh Sahib in 2019.
AAP’s candidates, who had given tough fight and had ended runners-up in the 2017 Assembly polls, were Anil Dutt Phally from Khanna, who had polled 35,099 votes against 55,690 votes polled by the winner Gurkirat Singh Kotli of the Congress, Sarbans Singh Manki from Samrala, who had got 40,925 votes against 51,930 votes polled by the winner Amrik Singh Dhillon of the Congress, Daljit Singh Grewal had lost to Sanjeev Talwar of the Congress by the district’s thinnest margin of 1,581 votes from Ludhiana (East) by polling 41,429 votes against 43,010 votes polled by Talwar, Ahbaab Singh Grewal had polled 30,106 votes from Ludhiana (West) against 66,627 votes polled by the winner Bharat Bhushan Ashu of the Congress, Jiwan Singh Sangowal had lost to Kuldeep Singh Vaid of the Congress from Gill by a margin of 8,641 votes by polling 59,286 votes against 67,927 votes polled by Vaid, and another Kejriwal’s candidate Gurpreet Singh Lapran had finished second from Payal seat by polling 36,280 votes against 57,776 votes polled by the winner Lakhvir Singh Lakha of the Congress.
Taking lead in allotting party tickets for the February 14 Vidhan Sabha elections, the AAP has so far announced candidates for 12 of the total 14 Assembly seats in Ludhiana district, which is one of the major parts of the state’s Malwa region, located south to Sutlej river, which makes up majority of the Punjab region consisting 12 of the total 23 districts.
Besides re-nominating Manuke from Jagraon, Grewal from Ludhiana (East) and Sangowal from Gill, the Kejriwal’s outfit has nominated Tarunpreet Singh from Khanna, Jagtar Singh from Samrala, Hardeep Singh Mundian from Sahnewal, Rajinder Pal Kaur Chhina from Ludhiana (South), Kulwant Singh Sidhu from Atam Nagar, Ashok Pappi Prashar from Ludhiana (Central), Madan Lal Bagga from Ludhiana (North), Manwinder Singh Gyaspura from Payal and Hakam Singh Thekedar from Raikot.
However, the state’s main Opposition party could not yet decide the candidatures for Ludhiana (West) and Dakha, which were among only eight Assembly seats from where the AAP had so far not announced its nominees for the next Vidhan Sabha elections.
While the failure to retain two of its three elected legislators, feel political observers, what they say was seen as the “main debacle” of the Kejriwal’s outfit, the party cadres claim they are poised for a “clean sweep” this time following the “disenchantment” of the electorates with traditional parties.
“This election, people will give us a chance to bring a change in the state’s political system,” said the party’s firebrand leader Manuke, who claimed that the AAP would win maximum seats from Ludhiana during this polls.
2017 assembly seat share
- Total seats in Ludhiana district: 14
- Congress: Won 8
- Aam Aadmi Party: Won 3, left with 1
- Shiromani Akali Dal: Won 2
- Lok Insaaf Party: Won 2
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