Punjab polls: BJP betting big on 35 segments to ‘create a surprise’
Making frantic efforts to offset the repercussions of a huge backlash it has faced over the three controversial Farm Bills now repealed for more than a year, the BJP in Punjab has focused on nearly 35 constituencies dominated by Hindu and Scheduled Caste (SC) voters with the hope of creating a surprise in the National Assembly elections.
In addition to presenting its candidates among the 23 seats it traditionally contested in coalition with its former ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the saffron party has listed 12 other segments where pushing the electoral campaign could give it good results.
BJP strategists claim that out of the 73 segments where their candidates are contesting the party symbol, including five from the Punjab Lok Congress (PLC), they have won out of 25 at least once in the last three polls of the BJP. ‘Assembly.
The additional seats the party is focusing on are mostly in urban areas, trailing it by a narrow margin in parliamentary elections. Moreover, the party will capitalize on the Narendra Modi factor in these segments.
Among the seats where the party will campaign at full throttle are Garhshankar, Ropar, Atamnagar, Ludhiana South, Ludhiana East, Dera Bassi, Khanna, Sangrur, Bathinda Urban, Gurdaspur, Batala and Mansa, a senior leader said.
“In most of these seats, the Modi factor was also present in the Lok Sabha poll,” he added.
Party insiders say the three Ludhiana city seats – Ludhiana South, Ludhiana East and Atamnagar – could yield surprising results as those constituencies are dominated by Hindu and SC voters. Previously, these seats went to the PLC but the candidates wanted to run on the BJP ticker from there.
“In Ludhiana South and Atamnagar, which were contested by the Bains brothers of the Lok Insaaf party, the BJP sees an opportunity to claim anti-incumbency against incumbent MPs and controversies involving them,” a strategist from the saffron party said. .
In Ropar, where the Sainis dominate, the BJP foresees a formidable struggle as the seat is dominated by Hindu voters and its candidate and former Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Iqbal Singh Lalpura also belongs to the community.
In Dera Bassi, the party is betting on voters from outside Punjab.
In the Batala, Gurdaspur and Garshankar segments, he is betting on Hindu and SC voters, while pinning his hopes on a large chunk of Hindu voters in the seats of Khanna, Mansa and Bathinda.
Punjab BJP General Secretary Subhash Sharma said the party was seriously contesting every seat. “There are certain seats we want to win because we have a solid base there,” he said.