After months of brainstorming, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Saturday named former Cabinet Minister Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal as the SAD-BJP candidate from Ludhiana Lok Sabha constituency, a seat which has always witnessed a keen contest, mostly between Congress and SAD. Grewal, who is a senior and traditional Akali stalwart with a strong Panthic image, enjoys a wide secular base in Ludhiana.
"Punjab: Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader and former Cabinet Minister Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal has been named as the SAD-BJP candidate from Ludhiana constituency for Lok Sabha Elections 2019," the news agency ANI reported.
Punjab: Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader and former Cabinet Minister Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal has been named as the SAD-BJP candidate from Ludhiana constituency for #LokSabhaElections2019 .— ANI (@ANI) April 13, 2019
Apart from Grewal, district president Ranjit Singh Dhillon, senior SAD leader and former cabinet minister Daljit Singh Cheema and Student Organisation of India (SOI) president Parminder Brar were the top contenders for the ticket from Ludhiana. Speculations were also rife that the party could field senior leader and former cabinet minister Bikram Majithia from the crucial Lok Sabha constituency.
So far, the SAD has announced eight of its 10 candidates from Punjab for the ensuing Lok Sabha elections 2019. Harcharan Bains, advisor to SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, said the names of the remaining candidates would be announced shortly. Of the 13 Lok Sabha seats, BJP will be contesting from three seats - Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur.
While the Congress and Lok Insaaf Party (LIP) have already announced their candidates for the seat, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is still struggling to fill the void created with the exit of human rights activist and senior Supreme Court lawyer HS Phoolka. The Congress has once again fielded its sitting MP Ravneet Singh Bittu while LIP leader Simarjit Singh Bains will be throwing his hat in the ring.
In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Congress candidate Ravneet Singh Bittu won the Ludhiana seat after defeating AAP's HS Phoolka. SAD’s Manpreet Singh Ayali stood third. Congress' Manish Tewari held the seat for one term before 2014.
Elections to 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab is scheduled to be held in a single phase on May 19. The counting of votes for seven-phase General Elections from April 11 to May 19 will be taken up on May 23.