Channi's Birthday Celebration Sparks Speculation of Jalandhar Candidacy

| | Chandigarh
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Channi's Birthday Celebration Sparks Speculation of Jalandhar Candidacy

Wednesday, 03 April 2024 | Monika Malik | Chandigarh

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Amidst ongoing speculations surrounding Punjab's former Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Charanjit Singh Channi's potential bid for the Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat, his birthday celebration has fueled the rumors. The event featured a custom cake adorned with the inscription "Sadda Channi – Jalandhar" — a thoughtful gesture orchestrated by Sukhwinder Singh Kotli, the Congress MLA representing Adampur assembly segment falling under the Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat.

Expressing gratitude, Channi mentioned that the Congress leaders brought along a cake as a token of goodwill. When asked about a potential shift to Jalandhar, he tactfully evaded a direct response, stating, "Hum toh shuru se hi aapke saath hain" (We have been with you, referring to Jalandhar, from the outset).

During the celebrations, cheers erupted in favour of Channi, with people raising slogans in support of his potential candidacy. Notably, Channi's wife was also present at the event, which took place at their residence in Chamkaur Sahib.

In recent times, heightened political activities have been witnessed in Jalandhar, particularly concerning the ensuing Lok Sabha elections. During a visit by Congress' Punjab in-charge Devendra Yadav and state unit president Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, discussions revolved around assessing potential candidates for the upcoming electoral battle.

Local party leaders advocated for Karamjit Kaur Chaudhary — the widow of Jalandhar's former MP Chaudhary Santokh Singh; and Channi, culminating in the submission of a list of prospective candidates to the Congress high command for the final decision. Sources indicate that Channi's candidature has received approval from the party's top brass. Notably, Karamjit Kaur, whose son Vikramjit Singh Chaudhary is also a party MLA, had unsuccessfully contested the Jalandhar bypolls the previous year, losing to former Congress MLA Sushil Kumar Rinku, who contested on the AAP ticket. Rinku is not contesting from Jalandhar as a BJP candidate.

Apart from the two, Punjab Police's retired SSP Rajinder Singh has also thrown his hat into the ring. However, his candidacy has yet to gain significant traction. Interestingly, a recent rally held in Kartarpur saw fervent support rallying behind former SSP Rajinder Singh as the prospective candidate for the Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat in the upcoming elections.

In 2021, the Congress replaced Capt Amarinder Singh with Channi as the Chief Minister of Punjab. Despite being touted as the face of the Congress for the 2022 Punjab Assembly elections, Channi's leadership failed to secure a victory for the party in the State. While Channi faced resounding defeat from two seats — Chamkaur Sahib and Bhadaur, Congress was restricted to just 18 seats.

The Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat is reserved, with the Dalit community wielding considerable influence, a factor that could significantly shape the electoral dynamics.

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