New Delhi: It appears to be an uphill task for Punjab state Congress President Navjot Singh Sidhu to win the prestigious Amritsar East constituency as he faces a formidable candidate in senior Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Bikram Singh Majithia on 20, February
Sidhu’s wife Navjot Kaur was the first candidate to win Amritsar East in the 2012 polls on a BJP ticket after it was carved out as a new constituency following delimitation. The saffron party was then an ally of the SAD. The Sidhu family’s hold over Amritsar East was put to test once the SAD leadership decided to take its battle against the Punjab Congress chief to his constituency by fielding Majithia from there. Majithia had been in Sidhu’s line of fire for months ahead of the Punjab polls over the drugs issue.
Majithia had initially filed his nomination from his stronghold, Majitha, indicating that he will contest from both the constituencies. He, later, accepted the challenge thrown by Sidhu and decided to fight only from Amritsar East leaving his Majitha seat for his wife Ganieve Kaur, who is now the SAD candidate from there.
The BJP has given its ticket to former IAS officer Jagmohan Raju from Amritsar East, whereas the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has fielded Jeevan Jyot Kaur, who has been associated with the party since 2014.
Majithia poll plank has been to exploit the rifts within the Congress against Sidhu, managing to get three of the Congress’s 15 councillors from the constituency defect to his party. Sidhu in his election speeches has been attacking Majithia and the Akali Dal for everything that has gone wrong with Punjab. And, he is using the FIR under the NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) Act against Majithia as a political weapon against him saying the outcome of this election will determine their children’s future.
Majithia is out on bail for the poll in a drug related case. A status report in this case was filed in the High Court in 2018 by the Anti Drug Special Task Force (STF) headed by Additional DGP Harpreet Singh Sidhu.
Not only Majithia but another strong candidate is Raju, who has been fielded by BJP against Sidhu. There are reports that Amarinder Singh is the brain behind pitting Raju, a former Tamil Nadu cadre IAS officer against Sidhu. The constituency has 38 per cent Hindu and 32 per cent Scheduled Castes population. h Raju is expected to get votes from the BJP as well as SC as he belongs to that community BJP candidate Raju belongs to SC community.
On the contrary, Sidhu enjoys a “clean image”, although there is some resentment against him in the constituency over his “overbearing attitude” and his inaccessibility. Uuu