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Business News/ Politics / News/  Lok Sabha Elections 2024: All 13 Punjab seats vote in final phase today. It's AAP vs Cong vs SAD vs BJP
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Lok Sabha Elections 2024: All 13 Punjab seats vote in final phase today. It's AAP vs Cong vs SAD vs BJP

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Punjab is voting today for crucial general elections featuring a four-cornered fight among AAP, Congress, SAD, and BJP. AAP aims to repeat its 2022 assembly success, while Congress and SAD look to regain ground.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets supporters during a public meeting in support of Preneet Kaur, the BJP candidate from Patiala seat in the Lok Sabha polls 2024, as Punjab party chief Sunil Jakhar looks on, in Patiala on Thursday. (ANI Photo) (Rajesh Sachar)Premium
Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets supporters during a public meeting in support of Preneet Kaur, the BJP candidate from Patiala seat in the Lok Sabha polls 2024, as Punjab party chief Sunil Jakhar looks on, in Patiala on Thursday. (ANI Photo) (Rajesh Sachar)

All 13 parliamentary seats of Punjab are voting in the seventh and final round of Lok Sabha Elections 2024 today, June 1. 

Punjab holds significance in these general elections, as it witnesses a face-off between two key parties of the INDIA bloc —the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress. Also, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is contesting its first Lok Sabha polls in Punjab, without its long-standing ally, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) since 1996.

Also Read: PM Modi's big claim at Punjab rally amid Lok Sabha elections: ‘Would have taken Kartarpur Sahib from Pakistan’

In the 2019 general elections, the Congress emerged as the leading party in Punjab, securing eight seats. The BJP and SAD managed to win two seats each, while the AAP secured one seat. 

Multi-cornered fight

Thus, in Punjab, a four-cornered fight is expected between the four major parties – the Congress, the AAP, the SAD and the BJP. 

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal lead the AAP's campaign. Kejriwal is out on interim bail until June 1, the day of the polls. Punjab matters for the AAP because it is the only state in the assembly, other than Delhi, where it is in power. 

This will be the AAP’s first Lok Sabha election after it swept Punjab, bagging 92 out of 117 seats in the 2022 assembly polls. The parliamentary polls also hold significance for AAP, from Punjab, where it won four seats in the 2014 polls, its maiden Lok Sabha election. 

For the Congress, Punjab matters as it was a ruling party from here. Additionally, the grand old party won eight out of the 13 Lok Sabha seats in the state in the 2019 general elections. 

Also Read: 'Impressed by PM Modi's policies': Ex-Punjab minister Harminder Singh Jassi quits Congress, joins BJP

In the 2022 assembly polls, the AAP almost decimated the Congress and SAD, which had ruled the state for 10 years, along with its former ally, the BJP.

SAD Vs BJP 

For SAD, which is contesting its first general election without its patriarch, the late Parkash Singh Badal, 2024 is important to revive its ‘panthic’ roots. The party’s manifesto, released earlier this month, makes a ‘panthic’ (Sikh) and ‘pro-Punjab’ pitch, emphasising a democratic and federal structure with political and fiscal autonomy for the state. “Panthic principles above politics and Punjab for Punjabis," SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said while releasing the manifesto on May 18.

The BJP, contesting all 13 seats, is banking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the party’s leading star campaigner. The BJP candidates also hope the Ram Mandir inauguration in January this year could swing the migrant Hindu votes in their favour. 

According to the 2011 census, although Hindus constitute 38.15 percent of the state’s population , the state remains predominantly Sikh, comprising over 57 percent of its population.

The BJP has also been faced with fierce protests from the farmer union members, who are “boycotting" its candidates.

Also Read: Elections 2024: AAP, Congress behind farmers protest in Punjab, BJP denied right to campaign, says Sunil Jakhar

Until 2019, when the BJP was in alliance with SAD, the saffron party would contest Lok Sabha polls from three seats — Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur and Amritsar. It won Hoshiarpur in the last two elections and bagged Gurdaspur five times since 1998. The party lost Amritsar in the last three elections.

INDIA bloc partners rivals in Punjab

Though the Arvind Kejriwal-led party contested the polls in Delhi in alliance with the Congress, they are pitted against each other in Punjab. In a recent interview, Kejriwal said that his party decided not to fight the election with Congress in Punjab because the BJP was not a serious player in the state. 

Also Read: Lok Sabha Elections 2024: ‘Strong opposition good for the country, but..’, says Amit Shah

Polling for 486 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats was over at the end of the sixth phase on Saturday. The BJP-led NDA is seeking a record third term under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, aiming to win 400 seats. The ruling alliance is challenged by the opposition parties led by the Congress under the banner of the INDIA bloc.

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Published: 27 May 2024, 01:37 PM IST
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