New Delhi: As the fervor of the Lok Sabha elections grips Punjab, the state’s political landscape is poised for a pivotal showdown across its 13 parliamentary seats. The Indian National Congress (INC), currently holding 7 seats, braces for a formidable challenge against its rivals – the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with two seats, Shiromani Akali Dal Badal (SAD) also with two seats, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) with one, and Shiromani Akali Dal – Amritsar (SAD-A) also holding one seat.
Reflecting on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, a series of victories marked the political arena. GURJEET SINGH AUJLA of INC emerged victorious in the Amritsar constituency, defeating his BJP rival by a margin of 99,626 votes. In Khadoor Sahib, JASBIR SINGH GILL of INC won against the SAD candidate by a substantial margin of 140,573 votes. The Jalandhar seat witnessed SANTOKH CHAUDHARY of INC triumphing over an SAD candidate with a 19,491-vote margin.
Manish Tewari of INC secured the Anandpur Sahib constituency, outstripping his SAD opponent by 46,884 votes. RAVNEET SINGH BITTU of INC won the Ludhiana seat, and AMAR SINGH of INC claimed the Fatehgarh Sahib constituency, each defeating their respective rivals with significant vote margins. MOHAMMAD SADIQUE of INC and Preneet Kaur of INC also registered convincing wins in their respective constituencies.
The BJP marked its presence with SUNNY DEOL winning the Gurdaspur constituency and SOM PARKASH securing the Hoshiarpur seat, both against INC candidates. SAD’s presence was affirmed by SUKHBIR SINGH BADAL and Harsimrat Kaur Badal, winning in Firozpur and Bathinda, respectively. The AAP, represented by BHAGWANT MANN, clinched the Sangrur constituency.
The subsequent by-elections saw a dramatic shift, with AAP losing the Sangrur seat but compensating by winning the Jalandhar seat, thanks to Sushil Kumar Rintu’s efforts. Simranjit Singh MANN of SAD (A) reclaimed the Sangrur seat, further intensifying the political dynamics.
In the 2019 elections, SAD candidates were the runners-up in six seats, followed by five INC candidates, indicating a closely contested political environment. The once allied forces of SAD and BJP, who split in 2020, are now speculated to possibly realign before the 2024 elections. Adding to the intrigue are rumors of a potential INC-AAP alliance, a move that could significantly impact voter decisions.
Punjab, witnessed a 40.12% vote share for INC, 27.45% for SAD, 9.63% for BJP, and 7.38% for AAP in 2019. However, the 2022 Punjab Assembly elections demonstrated a remarkable swing in voter preference, hinting at a potential shift in the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha elections opine political experts.
Political analysts suggest that while the 2022 state elections reflected regional concerns, the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections may pivot on national issues. This shift could redefine the electoral landscape, making the Punjab elections a critical barometer for gauging the national political mood.
The upcoming elections in Punjab are not just a contest of seats but a reflection of the evolving political ethos of the state. As the parties strategize and the electorate weighs its options, Punjab stands on the cusp of a potentially transformative electoral experience.