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Big Leg-up For BJP In Jalandhar; Cong Leaders Karamjit Kaur Chaudhary, Tajinder Singh Bittu Cross Over

The BJP juggernaut appears to be rolling in Jalandhar (SC) parliamentary constituency in Punjab. After the incumbent MP representing Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Sushil Kumar Rinku, who was renominated by the party to contest the seat in the 2024 polls, left and joined the BJP, becoming the saffron party’s candidate instead, it has now won the support of the tallest Congress Dalit family from the constituency.

Delivering a body blow to the prospects of the Congress, and its candidate former Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi, in the constituency, Karamjit Kaur Chaudhary, wife of two time Congress MP late Santokh Singh Chaudhary, who carried forward the family’s decades long dominance of the political landscape, left the party and joined the BJP in New Delhi on Friday (20.04.2024).

Big Leg-up For BJP In Jalandhar; Cong Leaders Karamjit Kaur Chaudhary, Tajinder Singh Bittu Cross Over, Lifeinchd
AICC secretary and Gandhi family loyalist Tajinder Singh Bittu from Jaldnhar joining the BJP in New Delhi

Also joining the saffron party, along with her, was senior Congress leader from Jalandhar and All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary co-incharge of Himachal Pradesh affairs Tajinder Singh Bittu. A Gandhi family loyalist, Tajinder Singh has also supervised the Rai Bareli parliamentary constituency, represented by Sonia Gandhi since 2004.

The Chaudhary family, which has upheld the Congress flag in the area for nearly nine decades, since pre independence times, had been miffed with the party decision to deny the family the party ticket from the constituency, preferring Channi, an outsider, instead.

Karamjit Kaur’s son, Vikramjit Singh Chaudhary, party’s MLA from Phillaur (SC) assembly constituency, had earlier resigned as Congress chief whip in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha after Channi’s candidature was announced, though as of now he continues to remain in the party fold.

Santokh Singh Chaudhary had died of a heart attack in January 2023 while participating as incumbent MP from Jalandhar in the Bharat Jodo Yatra led by Rahul Gandhi in Punjab. In bypolls necessitated by his death, the party had fielded his wife Karamjit Kaur, a retired director public instruction (Colleges), Punjab, but she lost to Sushil Kumar Rinku of the ruling AAP. Rinku, a former Congress MLA, had been inducted into the AAP prior to the bypolls.

Interestingly, now both the winner and the vanquished from the last 2023 Jalandhar parliamentary bypoll are in the BJP fold, with the winner being its candidate for the June 1 lok sabha polls.

The Jalandhar based Chaudharys have dominated the Dalit landscape in Punjab, with Santosh Singh’s father Master Gurbanta Singh, six times MLA from the area, holding the cabinet minister’s rank in the Punjab ministries led by post independence Punjab’s first chief minister Pratap Singh Kairon and later chief minister Giani Zail Singh. After him, his eldest son, Jagjit Singh Chaudhary, carried forward his legacy and remained minister in the Punjab ministries led by Beant Singh, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Capt Amarinder Singh.




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