Former envoy and BJP candidate Taranjit Sandhu comes third

Wednesday 12th June 2024 08:21 EDT

CHANDIGARH: Taranjit Singh Sandhu, former ambassador to Washington and a BJP candidate, was relegated to third place in a tough four-cornered contest in Amritsar. Despite his efforts to leverage his connection to the city, Sandhu’s campaign failed to resonate with voters.

Congress incumbent Gurjeet Singh Aujla retained the seat by a margin of 40,301 votes. Aujla secured 2,55,181 votes, defeating his nearest rival, Aam Aadmi Party candidate and cabinet minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal, who received 2,14,880 votes. Sandhu garnered 2,07,205 votes.

Sandhu, the grandson of Teja Singh Samundri - a founder member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee - tried to emphasize his local roots. A 1988 batch Indian Foreign Service officer, Sandhu retired in January and joined the BJP two months later.

The media said at times he seemed overwhelmed by the ground reality of politics and frequent disruptions by protesting farmers. Union Minister Smriti Irani, who wound up losing her own seat, held rallies in Amritsar to support Sandhu.

The BJP has struggled to reclaim the Amritsar seat since former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh won it in 2014, defeating former union minister Arun Jaitley. In the 2019 elections, another union minister, Hardeep Singh Puri, lost to Aujla. The BJP previously held the seat when Daya Singh Sodhi won it in 1998, and cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu served as the MP three times while with the BJP.

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