The Election Commission on Friday announced that the by-election for the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat would be held on February 4 along with the assembly elections in the state.
The by-election has been necessisated following the resignation of sitting member and Congresss leader Amarinder Singh in November last year after a Supreme Court ruling on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue went against the stand taken by the Punjab government of not sharing more river waters with neighbouring Haryana.
Amarinder was elected from the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat in May 2014 general election, defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Arun Jaitley in a high-profile election.
The Congress leader won comfortably by a margin of over 100,000 (one lakh) votes over Jaitley, causing embarrassment to the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance government in Punjab.
Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu had remained the BJP MP from Amritsar, winning the seat in 2004, 2007 (by-election) and 2009.
Sidhu was overlooked by the BJP for the 2014 general election for this seat and his political mentor in the BJP, Jaitley, was fielded instead. Sidhu did not enter the Amritsar constituency even once during Jaitley’s campaign despite being part of the BJP at that time.
The main fight this time will be between the Congress, BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party.