Bypolls to Gurdaspur LS seat, Kerala assembly segment on October 11

The Election Commission of India on Tuesday said bye-elections to Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat as well as Vengara assembly seat in Kerala would be held on October 11.

The counting/declaration of results will be on October 15.

“A notification for the Lok Sabha seat will be issued on September 15. The last date for submission of nominations will be September 22,” a spokesperson for Punjab Chief Electoral Officer’s office here said.

With the announcement of the bypoll for the Lok Sabha seat — which fell vacant in April due to passing away of veteran actor and sitting BJP MP Vinod Khanna due to cancer — the Model Code of Conduct has been enforced in Gurdaspur and Pathankot districts with immediate effect.

The Vengara seat fell vacant after Indian Union Muslim League leader P.K. Kunhalikutty won the Malappuram Lok Sabha bypoll in April.

The Lok Sabha bypoll for the Punjab seat could see a tough fight between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and ruling Congress. However, the Aam Aadmi Party could play a spoiler.

The BJP made the first move by announcing appointment of poll incharges for nine assembly seats in Gurdaspur parliamentary constituency.

Khanna held the seat from 1998 to 2004 and then from 2014 till his demise. The Congress, fresh from its emphatic win in the February 4 Punjab assembly elections, is all set to give a tough fight to the BJP.

Vinod Khanna’s widow Kavita Khanna, who looked after the constituency during his hospitalisation and absence otherwise, is a claimant for the seat.

Mumbai-based millionaire businessman Swaran Salaria, who tried for ticket on this seat earlier also, is again in the contention.

Other names being mentioned in BJP circles are of party MLA Dinesh Singh Babbu and former state BJP President Ashwini Sharma.

In the Congress, names of state Congress President Sunil Jakhar and other party leaders from the constituency are doing the rounds.

Khanna, a Punjabi born in Peshawar (now in Pakistan), remained popular in the constituency despite accusations that he remained absent from the area most of the time.

He had stormed the then Congress bastion on his electoral debut in 1998, defeating five-time Congress MP Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder. He won the seat in 1999, 2004, and 2014 as well.

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