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In a troubling precedent set by the win of Khalistani Amritpal Singh, it appears that every criminal and radical now sees an opportunity to contest elections, despite their fundamental disbelief in the Indian Constitution. Daljit Singh Kalsi, an aide to the incarcerated Khalistani leader Amritpal Singh, has announced his candidacy for the upcoming by-elections in the Dera Baba Nanak assembly constituency in Punjab. This announcement comes on the heels of similar declarations by Bhagwant Singh Bajeke and Kulwant Singh Raoke, who are also close associates of Amritpal Singh. They plan to contest from the Gidderbaha and Barnala constituencies, respectively.

Neeru Kalsi, Daljit Singh Kalsi’s wife, revealed this decision after visiting her husband in jail. She shared the news through a video message, appealing for public support and mentioning an upcoming press conference to share more details.

The Dera Baba Nanak assembly seat was vacated after Congress MLA Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa won the Gurdaspur parliamentary constituency, necessitating a by-election. The candidacies of Kalsi and his fellow aides mark a trend among Khalistani activists to engage in the electoral process, inspired by the recent successes of Amritpal Singh and Sarabjeet Singh Khalsa in the Lok Sabha elections.

Bhagwant Singh ‘Pradhan Mantri’ Bajeke and Kulwant Singh Raoke, who are also held in Dibrugarh Jail, announced their intentions to run in the by-elections for the Gidderbaha and Barnala constituencies, respectively. Akashdeep Singh, claiming to be Bhagwant Singh Bajeke’s son, confirmed his father’s candidacy via a video message. Kulwant Singh’s cousin, Maha Singh, also confirmed Kulwant’s electoral plans.

Sandeep Sunny’s Candidacy
In another development, the brother of Sandeep Singh, also known as Sunny, who shot Shiv Sena leader Sudhir Suri in Amritsar, has announced that Sandeep Sunny will run in the Dera Baba Nanak by-election. Sandeep Sunny had initially planned to contest the Amritsar Lok Sabha election but later withdrew. He is currently incarcerated in Patiala Jail. This means two candidates currently in jail are set to contest the election from the same seat.

The by-elections will take place in five assembly constituencies: Dera Baba Nanak, Gidderbaha, Barnala, Chabbewal, and Jalandhar West, following the vacancies left by their MLAs who recently won Lok Sabha seats. The Election Commission is expected to announce the by-poll schedule within the next six months after the Punjab Assembly Speaker declares the vacancies.

All three candidates will run as independents, facing significant legal hurdles as the Punjab government has extended the National Security Act (NSA) against them for another year. This means they will remain incarcerated unless they obtain bail.

The candidacies of Daljit Singh Kalsi, Bhagwant Singh Bajeke, and Kulwant Singh Raoke add a new layer to Punjab’s political landscape. Their participation highlights the evolving strategies of Khalistani activists and brings to light the intersection of political ambitions and legal challenges in the region. As the by-elections draw near, these developments are set to significantly impact the political dynamics in Punjab.

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