Chandigarh, January 27
The Amritsar-East constituency has become the hottest seat with the Shiromani Akali Dal announcing on Tuesday to field drugs smuggling accused Akali leader and ex-minister Bikram Singh Majithia against sitting MLA and state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.
With a “down-but-not-out” attitude, Majithia had last week hinted that he would be ready to contest against Sidhu, who he accused of conspiring to falsely implicate him in the drugs smuggling case. SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal announced his candidature in Amritsar. Immediately, media and political analysts touted the contest between the two leaders as the mother of all battles in Punjab. The Akalis have been defensive since the drugs smuggling case against Majithia with party leaders preferring to fight the allegations legally. However, in a sudden change, the party adopted an aggressive move and field Majithia. He will contest from his home constituency Majitha also.
It is not only going to be high-adrenaline contest, going by the decade-old rivalry between the two leaders, but also of much political significance for the state. Navjot Sidhu is keen on becoming the Chief Minister face of the Congress but will lose the claim if he tastes defeat at the hands of Majithia. On the other hand, Majithia risks loss of face against his bitter rival if he does not return victorious. He looks at the victory as validation of his claims that he was falsely implicated and won in the court of people.
The history of the seat does not augur well for the Akali leader. SAD had last won from the seat in 1951. Since then, the seat has been the stronghold of the Congress and the BJP. Sidhu won in 2017 on the Congress ticket, pocketing almost little more than 60 per cent votes. His wife was elected from the seat in 2012. Sidhu had led from the segment while winning the Lok Sabha poll thrice from the Amritsar, including a byelection.
PCC chief won 2017 polls
- The history of the seat does not augur well for the Akali leader. SAD had last won from the seat in 1951. Since then, the segment has been the stronghold of the Congress and the BJP
- Sidhu won in 2017 on the Congress ticket, pocketing almost little more than 60 per cent votes
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