With dates for the next Lok Sabha polls already announced, Akali Dal alliance and AAP in Punjab are still struggling to find suitable candidates for two Lok Sabha seats — Jalandhar & Hoshiarpur — in the state’s Doaba region. Both Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur are the reserved seats.
Both parties are battling their own set of problems in the state. While SAD’s core voter base in the rural hinterland of the region has been dented by the desecration row, AAP is reeling under a split.
Under the seat sharing arranged between SAD and BJP, in Doaba, BJP will contest from Hoshiarpur from where Union Minister Vijay Sampla likely to be given the ticket again and SAD will contest from Jalandhar.
SAD, meanwhile, looks all set to nominate two-time MP and former Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha, Charanjit Singh Atwal. Atwal is close to the Badal family and us also three-time MLA. Atwal is one of the senior most leaders of SAD, who first became an MLA in 1977.
Earlier, the party was considering the names of sitting MLAs from Adampur and Phillaur, Pawan Kumar Teenu and Baldev Singh Khaira. But Teenu, said sources, was not keen to contest, while Khaira too refused.
Due to his age, Atwal (81), has been batting for a ticket for his son, InderIqbal Singh, but party seems keen on the veteran.
As for as AAP, sources in the party said that names of Dr Shiv Dyal Mali, a retired government doctor who joined AAP before 2017 Assembly election, from Jalandhar and Dr Ravjot Singh, who had contested Assembly election in 2017 from Shahm Chaurasi, from Hoshiarpur are being considered.
AAP’s candidates had scored good vote share in Doaba (around 23 per cent of total polled) in 2014, despite the fact they were hardly any known faces. AAP’s candidate had fielded Jyoti Mann Akshra from Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat and Yamini Gomar in Hoshiarpur constituency in 2014. Now both these candidates are no more in AAP as Akshra was expelled in 2015 for anti-party activities and Gomar too had left the party to join Congress.