If seat-swap fails, SAD may field Tinu from Jalandhar
JALANDHAR: With the Congress aspirants making a beeline for getting ticket from Jalandhar Lok Sabha (reserved) seat, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which is struggling to find a suitable candidate from the constituency, is most likely to field Adampur MLA Pawan Kumar Tinu to contest elections in case the ‘seatswapping’ with its ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) does not materialise.
The SAD, for which Jalandhar seat remained a daunting task to win, has been pushing its ally BJP to swap the seat with neighbouring Hoshiarpur (SC), which is represented by Union minister of social justice and empowerment and BJP’S MP Vijay Sampla.
The Jalandhar seat has been Congress citadel for the past four consecutive polls. Although SAD owns two Dalit sitting MLAS– Pawan Tinu from Adampur and Baldev Khaira from Phillaur, observing past records have been showing an unwillingness to take on the fight, the senior leader from the SAD said that they have been pushing Tinu to contest the elections again.
In 2014 polls, SAD candidate and Adampur MLA Pawan Tinu had lost the seat by a margin of over 70,000 votes in spite of the fact that all the nine assembly segments falling under the Lok Sabha segment had SAD-BJP MLAS and were all powerful because of their alliance state government.
SAD has also an option to field former deputy speaker in Lok Sabha and former speaker in Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Charanjit Singh Atwal, who enjoys a good reputation among Dalits of Doaba.
“However, we are in talks for seat-swapping and looking forward to a positive response from the BJP, and in case it happens, the party is considering Tinu as its first preference from Jalandhar seat,” a senior SAD leader said. He said in case the BJP agrees for the seat swapping, it will benefit both the parties as Sampla has been facing anti antiincumbency from Hoshiarpur, while if he contested from Jalandhar, he could get the benefit of urban voters.
However, there are voices within the saffron party that winning Jalandhar seat will not be a cakewalk for Sampla either. Former minister Bikram Singh Majithia, who is the in-charge of the party for Jalandhar district said, they will decide the candidate soon after talks with the BJP whether the swap is happening or not.
When asked Majithia about contesting Tinu from Jalandhar seat, Majithia said that as of now both Tinu and Atwal are strong contenders and are under the consideration but the final call will be taken by the party high command after taking feedback.
However, Tinu said that he is a guard of the SAD party and will follow the party’s decision.
Pawan Kumar Tinu