With all the political parties in the state putting their heads together to analyse what went wrong and what clicked for them, Punjab is staring at seven by-elections in the days to come. The political tempers are not expected to subside as the bypolls may be held in the next six months or so.
With two sitting MLAs — Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal from Jalalabad, and Bharatiya Janta Party’s Som Parkash from Phagwara — all set to begin their new inning as the parliamentarians, the two seats would witness a byelection.
Sukhbir has been elected from Firozpur with the highest winning margin in the state of 1,98,850 votes defeating his once aide and sitting MP Sher Singh Ghubaya of Congress. Som Parkash, a former bureaucrat and two-time MLA, has been elected from Hoshiarpur by defeating his nearest rival Congress’ Dr Raj Kumar Chabbewal by 48,530 votes.
Marred by rebellion and defection, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was wiped out from the state with its vote share dwindling to just about seven percent from 25 percent in 2014 when it won four seats. Its two sitting legislators — Nazar Singh Mansahia from Mansa, and Amarjit Singh Sandoa from Ropar — have parted ways with AAP and joined the Congress days ahead the general elections.
They not only resigned from the party, but also as the members of the Vidhan Sabha — necessitating bypolls on the two seats.
Besides them, AAP’s another MLA from Bholath, Sukhpal Singh Khaira, had also left the party and floated his own political outfit — Punjab Ekta Party (PEP) — ahead polls. Even as the AAP has sought Khaira’s removal as an MLA, the two-time MLA had later submitted his two-page resignation to the Speaker — which is not as per the accepted procedure, but is under consideration.
In the same way, AAP’s Dakha MLA Harvinder Singh Phoolka has also submitted his two-page resignation to the Speaker Rana KP Singh, which is also under his consideration.
While the Speaker may summon Khaira in a next few days for a hearing before taking a final call on his resignation, the decision of Phoolka’s resignation is expected soon as he has already appeared before the Speaker twice.
Another AAP MLA, Master Baldev Singh from Jaiton, has also joined Khaira’s PEP and even unsuccessfully contested elections from Faridkot Lok Sabha seat. Even as he is yet to submit his resignation to the Speaker, he may face anti-defection proceedings under the Act.
Now, all eyes are on the Speaker Rana KP Singh who will decide on the resignations and defections in case of Bholath, Dakha and Jaiton assembly segments. Besides, the ball is also in the court of the Election Commission who will finally decide to conduct the elections in the vacated constituencies of Jalalabad, Phagwara, Mansa, and Ropar.