SBS NAGAR Formerly known as Nawanshahr, the district was renamed Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar in 2008, with the revolutionary’s ancestral village, Khatkar Kalan, located here. SBS Nagar district has only three assembly constituencies. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Congress, both, have a strong support base. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) also has a respectable presence here, which cannot be dismissed easily.
NAWANSHAHR: RULE OF SINGLE
FAMILY A TRADITION, SAINI VOTE KEY
Traditionally, the seat has remained with a single family, that of sitting MLA Angad Singh Saini. Saini’s father, Parkash Singh, and mother, Guriqbal Singh, have also served as MLAs; Parkash Singh’s uncle, Dilbagh Singh, has been a five-time MLA from here. This time, the SAD has given the seat to its new ally, the BSP, which has fielded its state general secretary, Nachhtar Pal. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has fielded sitting councillor and former Nawanshahr municipal council president, Lalit Mohan Pathak, who has a good hold on the city, having played a vital role in ensuring its top performance in the Swachh Bharat Survekshan. The Sainis form a sizeable proportion of the voters on the seat. For the electorate, illegal mining in the Rahon area, drugs, poor sewage system and unemployment are key issues. There are 1.76 lakh voters in this general category seat.
BANGA: NO CLEAR FAVOURITES
IN SEMI-URBAN SEAT
A semi-urban constituency, sitting MLA Dr Sukhwinder Sukhi is from the SAD; the AAP had finished second in the 2017 polls. This time, too, the SAD has trusted Dr Sukhwinder. The AAP has given its ticket to Kuljit Singh Sarhaal, son of former MLA Balwant Singh Sarhaal. Local volunteers of the AAP, which won five seats in municipal council polls, have been opposing the decision to give the ticket to Sarhaal. The Congress is yet to announce its candidate, but there is a strong buzz that Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s principal secretary, Hussan Lal, who hails from SBS Nagar, may be fielded from here. Former Congress leader, Satvir Singh Palli Jhikki, who looked after the constituency has joined the Punjab Lok Congress, former CM Capt Amarinder Singh’s party. Lack of development, poor infrastructure, drugs and unemployment are the major issues. The reserved seat has 1.64 lakh voters.
BALACHAUR: CONG BREACHED SAD FORTRESS
IN 2017, TOUGH CONTEST ON THE CARDS
In 2017, the Congress breached the SAD fortress with Darshan Lal Mangupur defeating four-time sitting MLA, Chaudhary Nand Lal, who had been winning from here since 1997. A rural segment seat, which also includes part of the Kandi area, is set to witness a tough contest again as the SAD has fielded Nand Lal’s daughter-in-law Sunita Chaudhary against Congress’ probable candidate, sitting MLA Mangupur. The AAP has given its ticket to Santosh Kataria, daughter-in-law of former MLA, Ram Krishan Kataria. The splinter groups of the Congress party may spoil its chances of retaining the seat, whereas the SAD has managed to quell factionalism. For voters of Balachaur, illicit liquor, illegal mining, lack of development and unemployment are issues that continue to make life difficult. The seat is reserved and has 1.54 lakh voters.