BJP bets on Sikh faces in six segments of Lok Sabha


Chandigarh

Taranjit Singh Sandhu from Amritsar is one of the six Sikh candidates of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Punjab.

Contrary to its image as a pro-Hindu party, the BJP has Sikhs, mainly Jat Sikhs, in six of the 13 parliamentary seats in Punjab.

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The move comes after the BJP announced last month that it would contest all 13 LS seats in Punjab on its own, ending speculation about the Shiromani Akali Dal’s return to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and a four-cornered alliance in the state. This was done after announcing that they were preparing for battle. . This will be the first time since 1996 that the Bharatiya Janata Party and SAD, one of the oldest constituents of the NDA, which parted ways over the 2020-2021 farm law protests, will contest the assembly vote alone in the state. .

The BJP has former ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu from Amritsar, Preneet Kaur, MP from Patiala who recently joined the BJP, Parampal Kaur, a former IAS officer from Bathinda, and Ravneet Singh, who quit the Congress and joined the People’s Party. – Supported Representative Bittu. Last month, the BJP had joined from Ludhiana, Manjeet Singh Manna from Khadoor Sahib and Rana Gurmeet Sodhi from Ferozepur. All of them, except Sodhi, are Jat Sikhs.

The move is seen as an effort by the saffron party to woo Sikhs, particularly Jat Sikhs, who account for 21% of the state’s vote share.

The BJP has welcomed Sikh faces into the party and built bridges with local communities.

In the list of chief ministers announced by Punjab Center Party chief Sunil Jakhar earlier this year, over 40% (17 out of 40) were Sikhs.

A senior Bharatiya Janata Party official said the party also relies on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s massive support for Sikhs. “Following the Centre’s decision, Veer Bal Diwas, which commemorates the martyrdom of the sons of Sikhism’s 10th guru Guru Gobind Singh, was observed at the state level. Besides celebrating birth anniversaries, we have taken several steps such as inaugurating the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor and have taken the lead in engaging with the Sikh community,” the leader said.

The party is also seeking to strike a balance between different communities when selecting candidates for Sabah’s 13 seats. In addition to fielding six Sikh candidates, the Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded three candidates from the Hindu community – Subhash Sharma from Anandpur Sahib, Arvind Khanna from Sangoorur; Mr. Dinesh Babu, who is a native of India), maintains caste balance. While Suhash Sharma is a Brahmin, Babu is a Rajput and Khanna is from the Baniya community.

The party also balanced the four seats reserved for scheduled castes by giving two seats each to the Ravidasia and Valmiki communities, two communities that dominate the Dalit political landscape in the state. I’m about to try.

In Doaba region, which is dominated by Ravidashia community, the party has fielded Anita Som Parkash from Hoshiarpur and Sushil Kumar Rinku from Jalandhar, both of whom belong to the community.

In Fatehgarh Sahib Faridkot, which falls in the Malwa region, both seats are reserved seats, and the party elected two Valmiki faces – Hans Raj Hans from Faridkot and Geja Ram Valmiki from Fatehgarh Sahib. .

The BJP has fielded three women candidates, the most of any party in the state. The party has fielded former IAS officer Parampal Kaur from Bathinda, Anita Som Parkash, wife of Som Parkash from Hoshiarpur, and Preneet Kaur from Patiala.

State Bharatiya Janata Party president Sunil Jakhar said the party is trying to give representation to all communities in Punjab.

“If you compare it with candidates from other parties, you will see that one section or the other is being ignored,” Jakhar said.



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