Choudhary Lal Singh
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The last-minute entry of outspoken and controversial Dogra leader Choudhary Lal Singh has made the electoral battle on the prestigious Udhampur-Doda Lok Sabha of Jammu and Kashmir interesting and keenly watched.

A day after rejoining the Congress party, Choudhary Lal Singh was given the mandate to fight against Union Minister and BJP candidate Dr. Jitendra Singh, who is trying to make a hat-trick on this seat.

Till a month ago, no one could have imagined that there could be an interesting contest here. When the election process started a month ago, it seemed that Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh would easily score a hat-trick on this seat because his victory margin had continuously increased in the last two elections.

In 2014, he defeated Ghulam Nabi Azad, a big politician and then Congress veteran, by more than 60,000 votes.

Similarly, in the 2019 elections, Dr. Jitendra Singh had created history in this Lok Sabha constituency. He defeated Vikramaditya Singh, grandson of the last Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh, and son of Dr. Karan Singh, by more than 3,50,000 votes.

It was believed before the elections started that Dr. Jitendra Singh only had to fill the nomination papers for this seat and he would easily win this election.

The way Congress declared Chaudhary Lal Singh as its candidate, the entire situation changed in this much-discussed Lok Sabha constituency of Jammu and Kashmir. Now, there appears to be a close contest between Dr. Jitendra Singh and Choudhary Lal Singh.

It will be known only on June 4 who wins in this much-discussed Lok Sabha constituency, but one thing has become clear during the election campaign Chaudhary Lal Singh has given a tough fight to the BJP.

Choudhary Lal Singh
Veteran politician of J&K Choudhary Lal Singh rejoining CongressCongress media cell

Lal Singh rejoins Cong on March 20

Chairman of the Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan Choudhary Lal Singh on March 20, 2024, joined the Congress Party in New Delhi.

The two-time Lok Sabha member and former minister of the erstwhile state of J&K was also declared a Congress candidate for the prestigious Udhampur-Kathua-Doda Parliamentary seat to take on Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh.

After floating his own political party, the Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan, before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Lal Singh was in touch with the Congress leadership.

During the Bharat Jodo Yatra in January 2023, Choudhary Lal Singh welcomed Rahul Gandhi at Lakhanpur, the gate of the J&K.

Although he was not allowed to share the stage with Rahul Gandhi due to opposition by the National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, Singh was in constant touch with the Congress leadership.

Choudhary Lal Singh is a two-time Lok Sabha member from this parliamentary constituency. In the 2004 parliamentary elections, Choudhary Lal Singh defeated veteran BJP leader and then Union Minister Prof. Chaman Lal Gupta in this seat, which was considered the citadel of the Saffron Party.

It is important to mention here that Prof. Gupta won this seat during three successive Lok Sabha elections.

In the 2009 parliamentary elections, Lal Singh again won by defeating another senior BJP leader, Dr. Nirmal Singh.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Congress replaced Choudhary Lal Singh with veteran politician Ghulam Nabi Azad on this seat, but he (Azad) lost to Dr. Jitendra Singh.

During the last weeks, Lal Singh's aggressive campaigning style has been troubling the BJP, which has maintained its hold on the region since 2014.

The impressive turnout at Lal Singh's rallies indicates that it will not be easy for the BJP to retain the seat.

On the other hand, the BJP has left no stone unturned to ensure a hat-trick of wins on this seat and has brought in Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath campaigned for Dr. Jitendra Singh.

While Dr. Jitendra Singh sought votes on good governance and development, Lal Singh expressed displeasure over the ill effects of weakening Article 370 for the local population. Rather than directly demanding the restoration of Article 370, he sought safeguards for the indigenous people of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 371 of the Constitution of India.