Jalandhar PC comprises 9 Assembly Segments on which 5 have Cong MLAs while 4 are from AAP – Advocate
In May, 2019 17th LS General Elections, AAP candidate even lost his security deposit
CHANDIGARH – After two & half months of unfortunate demise of then sitting Cong Lok Sabha MP from Jalandhar Parliamentary Constituency (PC), Chaudhary Santokh Singh on 14 Jan 2023, the Election Commission of India ( ECI) today on March 29 announced much-awaited Bye-Election on this vacant Lok Sabha seat which would be conducted on 10 May 2023.
This would indeed be the second Lok Sabha Bypoll in Punjab after Sangrur PC in the past one year under the Bhagwant Mann led AAP dispensation which assumed reins of power in the State with effect from 16 March, 2022.
Meanwhile, explaining the legal provision on holding of By-Election, Hemant Kumar, an Advocate at Punjab & Haryana High Court told that as per Section 149 of Representation of the People(RP) Act, 1951 when the seat of a member elected to the House of the People (Lok Sabha) becomes vacant or is declared vacant or his election is declared void, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has to fill such vacancy.
As far as time limit for filling up such vacancy, Hemant while quoting Section 151A of RP Act, 1951 asserts that such By-election is to be conducted within a period of six months from the date of occurrence of the vacancy. However, such bypoll is not conducted if the remainder of the term of a member ( who is deceased or unseated etc.) in relation to vacancy is less than one year.
Hemant said that since present 17th Lok Sabha tenure is till 16 June 2024, hence deceased Cong MP Santokh’s remainder tenure in current House was one and half year left which is more than one year. Hence, Bypoll is being conducted by ECI in Jalandhar PC on coming 10th May.
Last year, when former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav died in Oct, 2022, who was also sitting Samajwadi Party MP from Mainpuri Seat in UP in current 17th Lok Sabha, then By-election was conducted on that seat within two months in Dec, 2022 from where her daughter-in-law Dimple Yadav, wife of Akhilesh Yadav, Mulayam’s son and also ex-CM of UP won this seat by defeating BJP candidate Raghuraj Singh Shakya by over 2.88 lakh votes.
As far as Punjab is concerned, although current CM Bhagwant Mann was elected from Sangrur Lok Sabha seat in May, 2019 but two days before taking Oath of Office and Secrecy as Chief Minister of Punjab, Bhagwant Mann resigned from Sangrur LS seat on 14 March 2022. In June, 2022, a By-election was conducted on Sangrur seat where Shiromani Akali Dal (A) candidate, Simranjit Singh Mann won the seat after defeating Gurmail Singh of ruling AAP by a narrow margin of merely 5822 votes. Mann also remained Lok Sabha MP twice before in 1989 and 1999.
As far as Jalandhar PC is concerned, Hemant asserts that traditionally this seat has remained a Congress bastion/stronghold except on few occasions including when former PM, Inder Kumar Gujaral won from here on Janata Dal ticket in 1989 and 1998 and Akali Dal nominee won in 1977 and 1996. After 2008, this seat got reserved for Scheduled Castes after which firstly Mohinder Singh Kaypee won on Cong ticket in 2009 after which Santokh
Chaudhary won twice in 2014 and 2019.
In May, 2019, a retired Judge of Punjab & Haryana High Court, Justice Jora Singh (Retired) who was AAP candidate from Jalandhar PC got only 2.5 percent of valid votes thus forfeited his security deposit. However in May, 2014, then AAP nominee from Jalandhar PC Jyoti Mann got over 24 percent of the Valid Votes and remained at third slot, told Hemant.
Meanwhile, only two weeks back, Congress announced Karamjit Kaur Chaudhary, wife of deceased MP Santokh Chaudhary, as a party candidate for Jalandhar by-poll elections. The ruling AAP and other major political parties viz. SAD and BJP are yet to announce their nominee.
Hemant further said that as on date Jalandhar PC comprises nine Assembly Segments viz. Phillaur (SC), Nakodar, Shahkot, Kartarpur (SC), Jalandhar West (SC), Jalandhar Central, Jalandhar North, Jalandhar Cantt and Adampur (SC) of which five seats viz. Phillaur (SC), Shahkot,
Jalandhar North, Jalandhar Cantt and Adampur (SC) were won by Cong party in Feb, 2022 conducted 16th Punjab Assembly Elections whereas the remaining four were won by AAP. Interestingly, the Phillaur (SC) seat is currently being represented by Cong MLA Vikramjit Singh Choudhary, son of deceased Jalandhar MP Santokh Choudhary and son of now fielded Cong nominee, Karamjit Kaur Chaudhary.