Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | Former CM Channi, three turncoats heat up Jalandhar contest

To ensure no political rival could breach its fortress, the Congress has placed its bet on Dalit leader and former Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi, who had an MLA from Chamkaur Sahib seat in Rupnagar district.
Last Updated : 27 May 2024, 05:38 IST
Last Updated : 27 May 2024, 05:38 IST

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Chandigarh: Punjab's Jalandhar parliamentary constituency is likely to witness an interesting political bout as a former chief minister and three turncoats are vying to win the seat reserved for Scheduled Castes. Considered a Congress citadel, the Jalandhar seat was once represented by Inder Kumar Gujral who served as the country's 12th prime minister.

To ensure no political rival could breach its fortress, the Congress has placed its bet on Dalit leader and former Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi, who had an MLA from Chamkaur Sahib seat in Rupnagar district.

The Aam Aadmi Party has fielded two-time former Akali MLA Pawan Kumar Tinu who joined the state's ruling party in April.

The BJP has placed its trust on sitting MP Sushil Rinku, who was first announced as the candidate by the AAP. However, Rinku left the AAP and joined the saffron party to fight from the Jalandhar seat. Rinku had last year quit the Congress and joined the AAP.

The Sukhbir Singh Badal-led Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has fielded former Punjab Congress chief and former MP Mohinder Singh Kaypee from the seat. Kaypee jumped the ship from the Congress to the SAD last month.

With 16.54 lakh voters, the Jalandhar constituency has around 37 per cent scheduled caste population. This Lok Sabha seat comprises nine assembly segments: Phillaur (SC), Nakodar, Shahkot, Kartarpur (SC), Jalandhar West (SC), Jalandhar Central, Jalandhar North, Jalandhar Cantt and Adampur (SC).

During campaigning, Congress candidate Channi tells voters about the development work he undertook in his assembly constituency Chamkaur Sahib.

"I have come to stay here. My ancestors are from here. I assure you that I will remain with you and serve you," he says.

Channi says he has served as the Kharar municipal committee president and "today Kharar is turning into the number one city in Punjab".

"Later, I became an MLA from the Chamkaur Sahib segment. A university and two colleges are coming up there. All roads are paved now and you will not find a single pothole on them," he says.

"Whatever you say, I will do. You are my family and I will prove this in the coming days when you give me a chance," says Channi.

He also attacks the AAP government over the issue of the drug menace.

He speaks about promoting medical tourism in Jalandhar, saying the city possesses immense potential in this field.

BJP candidate and sitting MP Sushil Rinku is banking on the 10-year performance of the Modi government at the Centre.

Lauding the Central government, Rinku, at a public meeting, says the BJP-led dispensation took India's economy to the fifth place in the world and that the country will be made the third largest economy.

Taking a dig at the Arvind Kejriwal-led party, Rinku says the AAP leaders used to claim that they were 'aam' (common) people, but now they have become more than 'khas' (VIP).

AAP nominee Tinu is relying on the Mann government's two-year performance as he speaks about giving 43,000 government jobs, 300 units of free electricity per month, opening of 'Aam Aadmi' clinics which provide free treatment and free medicines.

The Bahujan Samaj Party has also fielded its candidate -- Balwinder Kumar -- who secured 20 per cent votes in the last elections.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Congress candidate Santokh Chaudhary won this seat. However, Chaudhary died of a cardiac arrest during the Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra in January 2023, necessitating the bypoll, which was won by Rinku.

The Jalandhar seat was represented by former PM Gujral in 1989 and 1998 as a Janta Dal candidate.

Polling for all 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab will be held on June 1, the last phase of the ongoing general elections.

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Published 27 May 2024, 05:38 IST

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