Gurdaspur: Daljit Singh Cheema’s main task is to bring the feuding Akali leaders together

Daljit Singh Cheema, the SAD’s unexpected choice for the Gurdaspur parliamentary seat, entered unfamiliar terrain today despite being informed by local officials of the many difficulties he would probably face.

The Akali Dal left the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in 2020 to express their opposition to the three agriculture legislation.

When Parkash Singh Badal served as chief minister in 1997, the two parties formed an alliance. Over the following 25 years, the BJP-SAD juggernaut had unprecedented success, winning five of the seven elections that were contested.

Getting all the feuding leaders onto one platform will be the veteran of Akali’s first and biggest problem. There are influential people in their own right, like SAD Majha youth coordinator Ravi Karan Kahlon and former MLAs GS Babbehali and LS Lodhinangal. It remains to be seen, however, whether they can convert their individual domination into a cooperative effort to help their candidate win. There is no longer anybody to mentor Cheema, including his old friends and former ministers Balbir Singh Baath, Sewa Singh Sekhwan, and Sucha Singh Langah. After his sleazy video went viral in 2017, Langah was made hors-de-combat, Sekhwan died away, and Baath is no longer with us.

In addition, Cheema will need to assemble a strong team in the mostly Hindu constituencies of Bhoa, Pathankot, Sujanpur, and Dinanagar. There is hardly much of the Akalis in these seats. To the extent that in the past, during their partnership, the BJP and SAD would only provide the latter one seat out of fifty in the Pathankot Municipal Corporation election.

Sunny Deol of the BJP held a significant advantage in 2019 thanks to these four segments. The SAD candidate would undoubtedly feel uneasy after reading these facts. According to observers, Cheema has already lost the election and would need to put in a lot of effort to catch up to opposing parties. “If not, he might encounter a strong Hindu barrier, an occurrence that would not be favorable for him,” a BJP MLA said.

In order to control the influential Christian vote base, he will also need to invest time and money in it. This community has changed lives before, and it won’t be any different this time around.

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