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In a first, SAD will contest Amritsar, Gurdaspur seats

The party will be, for the first time in many decades, fighting polls on this seat, as in previous elections, it had an alliance with BJP.

Sukhbir Singh BadalCHANDIGARH : The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) released the first list of seven candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha election on Saturday.

For the first time in more than two decades, the party will be contesting the Amritsar and Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seats. In this list, party stalwarts Daljit Singh Cheema and Prem Singh Chandumajra have been given tickets.

Surprisingly, the name of former union minister and Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal, wife of party president Sukhbir Singh Badal, is missing so far. She could either be fielded from her existing constituency Bathinda or Ferozepur.

Interestingly, two Hindu leaders of the party have been given tickets by the panthic party. Former BJP Minister Anil Joshi has been fielded from Amritsar, thus creating trouble for BJP candidate Taranjit Singh Sandhu, a former Indian Ambassador to the United States. The Shiromani Akali Dal has given a ticket to its senior leader Daljit Singh Cheema from Gurdaspur, as Cheema’s native village falls in this district, and he has studied here. Besides, the first ten years of his political career were active here. Cheema was eyeing a ticket from Anandpur Sahib, as he had remained an MLA from there and an education minister in the SAD-BJP Government.

The party will be, for the first time in many decades, fighting polls on this seat, as in previous elections, it had an alliance with BJP. Thus, this seat fell in the share of the saffron party as per the seat-sharing arrangement with SAD.

The party has nominated NK Sharma, a two-time former Dera Bassi MLA and realtor, to contest from Patiala. One advantage in his favour is the absence of opposition within Patiala. The party leadership is united in supporting him, and former minister Surjit Singh Rakhra has endorsed Sharma’s candidacy.

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