Punjab's political landscape heats up as bigwigs file nominations for June 1 polls

| | Chandigarh
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Punjab's political landscape heats up as bigwigs file nominations for June 1 polls

Tuesday, 14 May 2024 | Monika Malik | Chandigarh

As the deadline for filing nominations for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Punjab approaches, the political atmosphere in the State has reached a fever pitch. With only a day left until the filing window closes on Tuesday, several prominent figures from various political parties have officially thrown their hats into the ring, setting the stage for a fiercely contested electoral battle on June 1.
Since May 8, a total of 372 nomination papers have been filed by the candidates across the state. Among those who filed their nominations on Monday were BJP candidate from Patiala Preneet Kaur, SAD candidate from Bathinda Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Congress candidate from Ludhiana Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, aam Aadmi party’s Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer from Sangrur and Pawan Kumar Tinu from Jalandhar, and BJP’s Anita Som Parkash from Hoshiarpur.
Before formalizing their electoral bids, the candidates head towards their respective places of faith to seek blessings of the almighty. While Punjab Congress chief Warring cancelled his roadshow in the wake of renowned Punjab poet Surjit Patar’s demise, most of the candidates make their way to the office of Deputy Commissioners-cum-Returning Officers in huge convoys, with key leaders from all the parties lending their support to the party nominees.
Accompanied by her daughter Jai Inder Kaur, and son Raninder Singh, and other family mambers, Preneet submitted her nomination papers in Patiala after a visit to the historic Burj Baba Ala Singh, Qila Mubarak. Following this significant moment, Preneet kicked off her poll campaign with a spirited two-kilometer roadshow from Sherewalan Gate to Qila Chowk. Joined by esteemed dignitaries such as Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and BJP Punjab president Sunil Jakhar, Preneet led the convoy in a specially-branded vehicle adorned with the resonant slogan – “Patiale Da Bharosa, Preneet Kaur”. The event garnered substantial support, with approximately 12,000 people walking alongside the convoy for over three hours.
Bathinda MP and former Union Minister Harsimrat also filed her nomination papers amidst a notable gathering, including SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal, who filed his nomination as Harsimrat’s covering candidate. Earlier, Harsimrat, accompanied by her husband and their children — Anantbir, Gurleen, and Harleen — sought the blessings at Sri Damdama Sahib before proceeding to submit her nomination papers.
In opposition, retired IAS officer Parampal Kaur Maluka also filed her nomination papers after leading a massive roadshow, drawing participation from thousands of supporters. Gujarat’s former Chief Minister and the party's Punjab in-charge Vijay Rupani, along with several BJP leaders, joined Parampal in the roadshow that commenced from Power House Road and concluded at the DC office. Before her nomination, Parampal visited Gurudwara Qila Mubarak to seek blessings.
In Ludhiana, state Congress president Amrinder Singh Raja Warring submitted his nomination papers, accompanied by his wife Amrita Warring, and Balkaur Singh Sidhu – the father of renowned Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala. Holding a copy of India's Constitution, Warring paid homage to the late Punjabi poet Surjit Patar by canceling his scheduled roadshow and show-of-strength rally.
After the nomination process, Warring proceeded to inaugurate the Congress’ election office on Ferozepur road, Ludhiana, marking the beginning of his electoral campaign with a commitment to uphold democratic values, and vowing to deliver justice to Sidhu Moosewala family.
AAP’s Ashok Parashar Pappi also filed his nominations from Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat. Before the nomination, Pappi paid his respects at a temple; after which he and his son Vikas volunteered to clean shoes at the Gurudwara. Warring and Pappi are locked in a multi-cornered contest against sitting MP and BJP's Ravneet Singh Bittu, and SAD’s Ranjit Singh Dhillon, who also filed his papers on Monday.
From the streets of Jalandhar to the DC office, AAP’s Pavan Kumar Tinu made a bold statement by filing his nomination. Prior to this, he orchestrated a spectacular roadshow, drawing attention to his campaign. Although speculation swirled about Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann's attendance, Tinu took the spotlight solo. Joined by key figures including Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema and Local Government Minister Balkar Singh, the roadshow transformed the cityscape from Kachahri Chowk to the DC office. With ministers and election officials in tow, Tinu confidently submitted his nomination, marking the beginning of a dynamic electoral journey.
In Amritsar, sitting MP and Congress nominee Gurjeet Singh Aujla filed his nomination, accompanied by senior leader Harish Chaudhary. The contest in Amritsar is shaping up to be a three-way battle, with former IFS officer Tarunjit Singh Sandhu representing the BJP and Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal contesting on AAP's ticket.
In Sri Anandpur Sahib, Congress Vijay Inder Singla and BSP's Jasvir Singh Garhi filed their nominations.
BJP candidate Anita Som Prakash also filed her nomination from Hoshiarpur parliamentary constituency after leading a roadshow along with Rajasthan Chief Minister Bhajan Lal Sharma, Union Minister for Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, her husband Union Minister Som Prakash, and Tejashwi Sood.
SAD candidate Daljit Singh Cheema also submitted his nomination papers from Gurdaspur Lok Sabha constituency, in the presence of former MLA Gurubachan Singh Babbehali and other senior Akali leaders.
AAP’s Minister Dr Balbir Singh also filed his nomination in Patiala, while another Cabinet Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal submitted his papers from Amritsar. Another AAP Cabinet Minister Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer filed his nomination from Sangrur, while his challenger Arvind Khanna also filed his papers in the presence of Sunil Jakhar. SAD nominee Virsa Singh Valtoha also submitted his papers for the Khadoor Sahib seat in Tarn Taran district.
As the election drama unfolds in Punjab, the political landscape promises to be dynamic and closely contested. With the deadline for filing ending on Tuesday, candidates across party lines are leaving no stone unturned in their quest to secure victory in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The scrutiny of nomination papers will take place on May 15, with the last date for withdrawal of candidature on May 17.

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