A heated battle between an infighting Congress, a rising AAP, Akali Dal-BSP and an unlikely combination of BJP-Amarinder Singh will be seen on Sunday, February 20 - when the 117-seat Punjab Assembly will go to polls. Congress, which finally picked Charanjit Channi as its CM face, is facing a revolt from its state unit chief Navjot Sidhu. Meanwhile, frontrunner AAP is once again facing allegations of support of pro-Khalistani separatists. Results for the elections will be announced on March 10.
Republic P-MARQ Opinion poll predicts a neck-to-neck competition between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Indian National Congress (INC) - AAP may win 49-55 seats and the Congress 43-49 seats. On the other hand, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is projected to win 15-21 seats. BJP and Capt Amarinder Singh is predicted to win 1-3 seats and Others 1-3 seats.
CM Charanjit Singh Channi's hometurf will see an easy battle, eyeing to retain his seat for the fourth time. In a bizarre move, AAP has fielded Channi's namesake, Dr Charanjit Singh, for this seat. Channi - who has been elected from this SC-reserved seat in 2007, 2012 and 2017 - is also fighting the polls from Bhadaur which is an AAP turf. Channi is Punjab's first Dalit Chief Minister and replaced Capt Amarinder Singh after his ouster due to Navjot Sidhu's rebellion.
94-year-old Akali Dal patriarch Parkash Singh Badal sees no fight in his home constituency of Lambi. Badal, who has held this seat since 1997 is in the poll fray for the 13th time after his party members urged him to do so. Due to health constraints, Badal's campaigning has been done by close aide Tejinder Singh Middukhera and his daughter-in-law Harsimrat Badal. AAP CM face Bhagwant Mann has attacked the 94-year-old claiming 'His greed for power forced him to contest'. Badal faces AAP's Gurmeet Singh Khudian, Congress' Jagpal Singh Abul Khurana.
Hometurf of ex-CM Capt Amarinder Singh - Patiala will see an easy fight as the 79-year-old seeks his fifth win. The ousted Congress veteran, who now heads Punjab Lok Congress has won the seat four times -- 2002, 2007, 2012 and 2017. His wife Preneet Kaur won it in 2014 after Capt Amarinder Singh won the Patiala Lok Sabha seat, defeating BJP veteran Arun Jaitley by a margin of more than 102,000 votes. The ex-CM faces AAP's Ajitpal Singh Kohli and Congress' Vishnu Sharma.
Navjot Singh Sidhu and his supporters rebelled against then-CM Capt Amarinder Singh moving the High Command claiming the party's 18-point agenda was not being fulfilled. After many rounds of talks, Congress High Command picked Sidhu as Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief, inspite of the CM's vehement opposition. Later, blindsided by the CLP meeting called without his knowledge, 79-year-old Capt Amarinder Singh tendered his resignation from the Punjab CM post and then launched 'Punjab Lok Congress' which is now allied with BJP and Akali Dal (Dhindsa)
Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal's home constituency - Jalalabad - which falls under Fazilka district will see a one-sided fight between Badal and AAP's Jagdeep Goldi Kamboj, BJP's Puran Mujaidia and Congress' Mohan Singh Phalianwala. Badal has held the constituency since 2009, before he won the Firozpur Lok Sabha polls. Congress managed to win the seat in the bypolls in 2019.
However, Jalalabad saw a massive campaign by ex-ally BJP with both PM Modi and BJP chief JP Nadda addressing rallies in Fazilka. The saffron allies broke ties after 23 years over differences over the now-repealed three Farm Laws. After the repeal of farm bills, Akali Dal hailed PM Modi for the decision and has stayed clear of attacking either Capt Amarinder or BJP directly.
A major face-off will be seen in this constituency falling under Kapurthala district between Congress' Sukhpal Singh Khaira, Akali Dal's Bibi Jagir Kaur and Ranjeet Singh Rana. AAP-turned-Congress leader Khaira, who is Bholath's sitting MLA won the seat in 2017 for AAP by a margin of 8202 votes, defeating Akali Dal's Yuvraj Bhupinder Singh. Khaira - a 2-time MLA faces three-time SAD MLA Bibi Jagir Kaur and Congress-turned-AAP leader Ranjeet Singh Rana.