CHANDIGARH: The ruling Congress and the opposition combine of SAD-BJP in Punjab will be fighting for the four Assembly seats which goes to bypoll on Monday. In Himachal Pradesh, the ruling BJP will keep a keen watch on caste alignments and performance of rebels in the bypoll at Dharamsala and Pachaad Assembly seats.
Mukerian and Phagwara will have BJP candidates, while the Akalis are in Dakha and Jalalabad. Though the Congress and the AAP are contesting all these seats in Punjab, the Arvind Kejriwal-led party is nowhere in the picture. While the SAD-BJP combine had bagged two Assembly segments, the Congress and the AAP had won one each.
Dakha is being keenly watched as Congress candidate Sandeep Sandhu is the political secretary of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. Sandhu’s main rival is Akali candidate Manpreet Singh Ayali. Amarinder had taken out two roadshows in favour of his trusted lieutenant.
An Akali stronghold, Jalalabad will see Raj Singh Dibipura of SAD fight it out with Congress’ Raminder Singh Awla. The seat fell vacant after sitting legislator and SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal was elected to the Lok Sabha from Ferozepur. Sukhbir, his wife and Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, and his brother-in-law Bikramjit Singh Majithia have held rallies in the constituency.
Dharamshala and Pachhad bypolls will be a test of popularity for Himachal Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur as the ruling BJP looks to increase its margin this time. In Dharamshala, Rakesh Kumar, a BJP rebel fighting as independent, is being keenly watched. Another BJP rebel Dayal Pyari is contesting at Pachhad.