Updated: January 11, 2022 4:12:23 pm
The biggest city of the Doaba region, Jalandhar, is known for its cash-rich NRIs and Dalit politics. Of its nine assembly constituencies, four are reserved and so is its Lok Sabha seat. Traditionally, a Congress stronghold, the party was routed here in the 2012 and 2007 elections when SAD-BJP alliance won the majority of seats. Even in 2017, when Akalis could muster only 15 seats across the state and were placed behind the newbie AAP, Jalandhar gave four MLAs to the party. Later in the 2018 bypolls, SAD lost its Shahkot assembly seat to Congress. This time, the party has tied up with Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to woo the voters.
The district, which faces various issues, ranging from poor civic amenities and drugs to illegal sand mining and illicit liquor, is all set for a multi-cornered contest with Dalit votes holding the key to several seats.
Here is a look at its nine Assembly segments
• JALANDHAR CENTRAL
Total voters: 1.66 lakh
Mainly an urban constituency with some villages, it is dotted with posh localities bordered by a slum called Qazi Mandi. All the main district offices, including that of the Municipal Corporation, District Administrative Complex fall under it.
Sitting MLA: Rajinder Beri (INC)
2012: Manoranjan Kalia (BJP)
2007: Manoranjan Kalia (BJP)
2002: Raj Kumar Gupta (INC)
1997: Manoranjan Kalia (BJP)
Only AAP and SAD have announced their candidates for this seat. While AAP has fielded Raman Arora, a businessman who also performs kirtan, SAD is banking on Chandan Grewal, a former MC official from the Valmiki community. SAD wants to woo the Valmiki votes on all three urban seats of Jalandhar city.
Garbage management, an inefficient Municipal Corporation resulting in choked sewer and water lines, and a smelly water body spread across several acres in the upscale Surya Enclave.
• JALANDHAR NORTH
Total voters: 1.84 lakh
This constituency encompasses a major part of Jalandhar’s industrial area. An urban seat where BJP is quite strong, it may see a direct contest between the sitting MLA and former BJP legislator KD Bhandari. The constituency has a mixed population of Hindu and Scheduled Caste voters.
Sitting MLA: Avtar Henry Junior, (INC)
2012: K. D. Bhandari (BJP)
2007: K. D. Bhandari (BJP)
2002: Avtar Henry (INC)
1997: Avtar Henry (INC)
AAP has announced Dinesh Dhall, a former Congressman and two-time councillor, from here. Active in local politics for a long time, he was earlier considered close to former minister Avtar Henry.
For the voters, civic issues, including a poor sewerage system, bad roads, underdeveloped industrial area, remain a concern.
• JALANDHAR CANTT
Total voters: 1.86 lakh
This is mainly an urban constituency with several villages in its periphery. It has several posh localities, including Model Town.
Sitting MLA: Pargat Singh (INC)
2012: Pargat Singh (SAD)
2007: Jagbir Singh (SAD)
2002: Gurkanwal Kaur (Congress)
1997: Tej Parkash Singh (Congress)
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is betting on former hockey Olympian Surinder Singh Sodhi from here.
SAD is going with Jagbir Singh Brar, former MLA who joined Congress only to return to the party fold. The contest here is being watched closely because Brar is likely to face Punjab education minister Pargat Singh, who has been winning from here since 2012 when Pargat (then in SAD) defeated Brar (then in Congress) from here. Former SAD MLA Sarabjit Singh Makkar, who was defeated by Pargat Singh in 2017, was earlier the halqa in-charge for SAD from here. But after Brar’s candidature, Makkar has joined the BJP.
Clogged sewerage, poor water supply, and other civic issues continue to haunt this segment.
• JALANDHAR WEST (RESERVED)
Total voters: 1.64 lakh
It is a largely urban constituency dominated by the Ravidassia, Valmiki and Bhagat communities. The well-known places here include the old Basti areas, Buta Mandi and Guru Ravidas Chowk.
Sitting MLA: Sushil Kumar Rinku (INC)
2012: Chuni Lal Bhagat (BJP)
2007: Chuni Lal Bhagat (BJP)
2002: Mohinder Singh Kaypee (Congress)
1997: Chuni Lal Bhagat (BJP)
AAP has fielded Sheetal Angural, a former BJP leader who is under cloud for some cases, from here.
Poor amenities could cost the ruling party dear here. The clogged sewers and inadequate drinking water make daily life difficult for people here.
• ADAMPUR (RESERVED)
Total voters: 1.63 lakhs
Mainly a rural constituency with strong presence of BSP supporters, it is a SAD stronghold since 2007. The Congress last won from here in 2002 when Kanwaljit Singh Lally became the MLA. The Bahujan Samaj Party had outdone the SAD in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, but now the two parties are allies. AAP and the BJP have marginal presence in the area.
Sitting MLA: Pawan Kumar Tinu (SAD)
2012: Pawan Kumar Tinu (SAD)
2007: Sarbjit Singh Makkar (SAD)
2002: Kanwaljit Singh Lally (Congress)
1997: Saroop Singh (SAD)
The SAD has again fielded its two-time MLA, Pawan Kumar Tinu as SAD candidate from here. Tinu was in the BSP before joining SAD and has won this seat twice.
AAP has fielded Jeet Lal Bhatti, a retired banker.
Locals here are raising the issue of postmatric scholarship along with the long- pending demand for the construction of Jalandhar-Hoshiarpur highway. In its absence, people have to commute on a badly rutted road from the main Adampur market.
• KARATARPUR (RESERVED)
Total voters: 1.77 lakh
A rural constituency, the SC votebank will decide the MLA here.
Sitting MLA: Surinder Singh Chaudhary (Congress)
2012: Sarwan Singh (SAD)
2007: Avinash Chander (SAD)
2002: Chaudhary Jagjit Singh (Congress)
1997: Jagjit Singh (Congress)
AAP has fielded former deputy commissioner of police Balkar Singh, while Balwinder Kumar, an advocate and former journalist, who rolled out his campaign three months ago, is BSP-SAD candidate from here. Balwinder had also contested in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and had managed to garner over 2 lakh votes.
Lack of development, unemployment and drugs are key issues here.
• PHILLAUR (RESERVED)
Total Voters: 2.03 lakh
Male: 1.05 lakh
A largely rural constituency, it has been the stronghold of SAD since 2007. BSP too has a handsome presence here. It boasts the famous ‘Gandhi Dham’, a memorial that has Bapu’s 11 principles in Hindi, English, Punjabi and Urdu.
Sitting MLA: Baldev Singh Khaira (SAD)
2012: Avinash Chander (SAD)
2007: Sarwan Singh (SAD)
2002: Santokh Singh (Congress)
1997: Sarwan Singh Phillaur (SAD)
AAP has announced Prem Kumar, a retired Principal and former District Education Officer (DEO), as its candidate. This will be his maiden elections. BSP has left this seat for SAD, which has made its sitting MLA the candidate from here.
This constituency is notorious for drug peddling in several infamous villages. It’s also witnessed illegal mining on the banks of the Sutlej. Civic amenities and lack of development are other major issues here.
Total Voters: 1.90 lakh
A rural constituency, it used to be a Congress stronghold till 2012 before SAD captured it. SAD’s Gurpratap Singh Wadala, son of late Akali leader Kuldip Singh Wadala, has been winning this seat for the past two elections. Factionalism in Congress has hit its fortunes here.
Sitting MLA: Gurpratap Singh Wadala (SAD)
2012: Gurpratap Singh Wadala (SAD)
2007: Amarjit Singh Samra (Congress)
2002: Amarjit Singh Samra (Congress)
1997 : Amarjit Singh Samra (Congress)
AAP has appointed Inderjit Kaur, who recently quit the Congress, as its halqa in charge. The dera (sect) at Nurmahal plays a crucial role in this constituiency.
Lack of development, drugs and unemployment remain key issues here.
Total Voters: 1.77 lakh
A rural constituency, it used to be an Akali stronghold till the 2018 bypoll, when it was wrested by Congress’s Hardev Singh Laddi after the death of sitting MLA Ajit Singh Kohar. Jat Sikhs and Kamboj communities play a major role in the victory of any candidate here.
Sitting MLA: Hardev Singh Laddi (Congress)
2012: Ajit Singh Kohar (SAD)
2007: Ajit Singh Kohl (SAD)
2002: Ajit Singh Kohar (SAD)
1997: Ajit Singh Kohar (SAD)
SAD had nominated late minister Ajit Singh Kohar’s grandson, Bachhitar Singh Kohar, from here while AAP has fielded Rattan Singh Kakkar Kalan, a well-known philanthropist of the area.
Lahan (illicit liquor), drugs, mainly dodde (poppy husk) and illegal mining are the major issues in this constituency along with unemployment.