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Gurdaspur LS bypoll:A battle of prestige for political parties

Press Trust of India  |  Chandigarh 

The Gurdaspur bypoll, necessitated following the death of actor and MP Vinod Khanna, will witness a triangular contest among BJP, and

While the ruling Congress, buoyed by its victory in the assembly elections earlier this year, is confident of continuing its winning streak, the would pull out all stops to retain the seat.

"We will surely retain our Gurdaspur seat," secretary Vineet Joshi said today.

The main opposition party, (AAP), is also looking to increase its tally, having secured just 20 seats in the assembly polls.

The bypoll has been scheduled for October 11 and will be declared on October 15.

While all the three political parties have stepped up electioneering, the race for tickets has also picked up the pace.

In the ruling Congress, the name of Pradesh Committee chief Sunil Jakhar has been doing the rounds with several MLAs backing him.

However, Qadian Fateh Jang Bajwa, brother of MP Partap Singh Bajwa, has reportedly pitched for a local face.

"Sunil Jakhar is a good choice for the ticket," said Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, an from Fatehgarh Churian.

Jakhar, however, said the party high command would take a call on it.

A recommendation will be made to the high command only after Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh returns from London, party sources said.

In the BJP, two names -- Kavita Khanna, wife of Vinod Khanna, and businessman Swaran Salaria -- have come to the fore.

"The name of the candidate will be announced soon," said Joshi.

The AAP, too, held a meeting of its MLAs and office- bearers today to finalise the names of the candidates, which will then be sent to the party's political affairs committee for approval.

"We want a clean, educated and honest candidate for the Gurdaspur seat," and leader of opposition Sukhpal Khaira said.

The parliamentary seat has nine assembly segments. The BJP managed to secure just one assembly seat in Sujanpur, out of the four it had contested earlier this year.

The Congress, however, bagged seven seats -- Bhoa, Pathankot, Gurdaspur, Dinanagar, Qadian and Fathegarh Churian. Batala seat went to Shiromani Akali Dal.

Both the BJP and the are likely to attack the ruling over its failure to implement farm loan waiver.

The Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat has been a stronghold of the BJP so far. Actor-turned-politician Vinod Khanna, who passed away in April this year, won the seat four times.

After joining the BJP in 1997, Khanna was fielded from the Gurdaspur parliamentary seat in 1998. He defeated Congress candidate and five-time MP Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder and repeated his performance in the 1999 and 2004 Lok Sabha polls.

The actor-turned-politician got his first taste of defeat in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections when he was trounced by Congress candidate Partap Singh Bajwa. In 2014, however, Khanna avenged his defeat by thrashing Bajwa with over 1.30 lakh votes.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, September 14 2017. 19:02 IST