CHANDIGARH: It’s a straight fight between the ruling Congress and the SAD-BJP combine in the upcoming by-elections to the four assembly seats in Punjab, with the main opposition, Aam Aadmi Party, in a listless state.
The Dahka assembly seat, which falls under Ludhiana Lok Sabha constituency, has been vacant since AAP legislator and senior Supreme Court lawyer HS Phoolka resigned. In the Lok Sabha elections, the AAP candidate got a meagre 2,563 votes from this seat.
The Congress has fielded Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s political secretary Sandeep Singh Sandhu in Dahka while SAD proposes to field Manpreet Ayali.
The Jalalabad seat was vacated by SAD president and former deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal.
The Akali Dal is likely to give the ticket to a Rai Sikh candidate to polarise the votes on caste lines while Congress is fielding Raminder Singh Amla.
In the Phagwara assembly seat that falls in Hoshiarpur parliamentary constituency, the Congress has fielded Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal, a senior IAS officer who quit service to contest the Assembly by-elections.
In Mukerian, which too comes under Hoshiarpur Lok Sabha seat, the Congress has given ticket to Anju Bala.
In both Phagwara and Mukerian, Congress is facing a tough contest from the BJP.
The by-elections are being seen as a litmus test for the Congress which completed half its term.
In Himachal Pradesh, bypolls will be held for two assembly seats — Dharamsala and Pachaad — where it will be a challenge or the BJP to maintain the lead.