The Phagwara reserved assembly constituency is all set to witness an intense election battle between the Congress and the BJP on October 21.
In the 14 elections between 1957 and 2017, the Congress has won eight times, while the BJP emerged victorious on four occasions.
The bypoll was necessitated after the resignation of BJP MLA Som Parkash, who was elected to the Lok Sabha in the 2019 general elections. This is the first ever by-poll in the constituency since 1957.
The Congress is putting up a united show after all its factions buried their hatchet following intervention from party leaders and announced the candidature of bureaucrat-turned-politician Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal from the seat on September 23.
While the BJP, plagued by factionalism, declared Rajesh Bagha, former Chairman of the state SC/ST Commission, its candidate from the seat.
The Congress has this time preferred a non-political face in Mr Dhaliwal, ignoring claims of three-time Phagwara MLA Joginder Singh Mann and district Congress chief Balbir Rani Sodhi.
By fielding Mr Bagha, the BJP too has given preference to a political novice over seasoned leader Aneeta Som Parkash, wife of Union minister Som Parkash.
In a setback to the BJP, however, six of its councillors and several other senior leaders had joined the Congress recently.
Besides Mr Dhaliwal and Mr Bagha, Thekedar Bhagwan Das Sidhu of BSP-Punjab Democratic Alliance (PDA), Jarnail Nangal of Lok Insaaf Party (LIP), Santosh Kumar Gogi of AAP are also contesting from the seat.
Nine candidates are contesting the election in Phagwara.
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