After Amritpal Singh's entry into poll fray, all eyes on Panthic seat Khadoor Sahib : The Tribune India

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Constituency Watch Khadoor Sahib

After Amritpal Singh's entry into poll fray, all eyes on Panthic seat Khadoor Sahib

After Amritpal Singh's entry into poll  fray, all eyes on Panthic seat Khadoor Sahib

Gurdwara Darbar Sahib (Angitha Sahib) in Khadoor Sahib.



Tribune News Service

Jupinderjit Singh

Chandigarh, May 13

The Khadoor Sahib constituency seems to be attracting more attention than any other in Punjab. This is largely because pro-Khalistan activist Amritpal Singh, currently lodged in Dibrugarh Jail, Assam, under the National Security Act (NSA), is contesting elections in absentia as an Independent from this constituency.

Also, the seat has the highest number of Sikh voters (75.15 per cent) in the state. It is also the only one spanned across the three regions - Malwa, Majha and Doaba - and is termed ‘Mini-Punjab’.

Traditionally, people here have voted more in favour of ‘Panthic’ candidates of SAD. The constituency came into being in 2008.

During the height of a separatist movement, voters chose the Sikh hardliner Simranjit Singh Mann of SAD (Amritsar) in 1989 (then Tarn Taran constituency). He won in absentia as he was in jail that time. But as peace returned, the voters elected the Congress candidate in 1996 before returning to the Akalis. The SAD candidates won in 1998, 1999 and 2004 elections.

In 2019, as the SAD fortunes declined due to the sacrilege incidents, drug abuse and misgovernance, people voted for development promises made by Jasbir Singh Dimpa of the Congress. They preferred him over the Akalis and even a ‘panthic’ candidate Paramjit Kaur Khalra, wife of human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra, who exposed fake encounters during terrorism in Punjab.

Dimpa, who sported a trimmed beard and rode swanky cars, was an exception to the rule of the voters to mostly elect, ‘sabat-surat’ or Amritdhari Sikhs.

He got backing of party leaders also as before the 2019 elections, all nine Assembly seats falling in the constituency had gone in favour of the Congress in 2017.

In 2022, people opted for a change over anything else and returned seven MLAs of AAP from the nine Assembly segments. The current AAP candidate Laljit Bhullar (Transport Minister) hopes the voters will repeat the favour.

The absence of higher educational institutes, hospitals, potable water scarcity, drug addiction and conversions are the pressing poll issues.

However, since Amritpal threw the gauntlet, the narrative has changed to vote for peaceful and progressive Punjab versus pro-Amritpal narrative.

It seems to be an ‘Amritpal versus others’ at the moment in the constituency. However, a lot depends on the acceptance of his nomination papers as well, said a police official. The SAD (Amristar) led by Simranjit Singh Mann has withdrawn its candidate in support of Amritpal.

SAD candidate Virsa Singh Valtoha is putting up a stiff challenge recounting his days of militancy and close association with Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

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