AMRITSAR: The upcoming Punjab assembly elections has attracted the focus of the political parties to such an extent that the by-polls for the high profile Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, to be held alongside the assembly polls on February 4, seems to have totally lost its importance.
The seat has been vacant since the resignation of Capt Amarinder Singh over the issue of SYL and his interest in the state politics even as the Congress President is eyeing the chief minister’s post in the state elections.
During the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the parliamentary constituency had witnessed one of the biggest fights between senior BJP leader and Union finance minister Arun Jaitley and Capt Amarinder Singh of the Congress. Jaitley had lost the battle to Singh.
Cricketer turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu had also won the elections here thrice in 2004, 2005 and 2007 when he defeated Congress stalwart RL Bhatia.
However, the by-polls for the constituency this time are set to be a low profile affair. The choice of the candidates, too, reflect the lack of interest.
Though the BJP has fielded its senior leader Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina, the Congress has fielded its Amritsar (rural) unit president Gurjit Singh Aujla, a greenhorn.
Though the fight is all set to be two-sided, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has fielded former Shiromani Akali Dal leader Upkar Singh Sandhu who first switched over to the Congress and then recently re-joined the AAP in the race. There are seven other candidates in the race from smaller political parties and as independent contestants.
Voters too have little interest in the elections, it seems. “I am not aware that the polls are being held for the parliament too. Everyone talks about only Vidhan Sabha elections,” says a Ajmer Singh a voter.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the fight was also seen as a Sikh versus non-Sikh contest in which Jaitley lost and all the major political parties have now put up Sikh candidates seeing that 64 per cent of voters are Sikhs.