The bypoll to Sangrur Lok Sabha seat had witnessed a low turnout of 45.30 percent as against 72.44 percent polling in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and 76.71 percent in the 2014 polls.
Chandigarh: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) faced a huge setback in the Punjab by-elections on Sunday.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) candidate Simranjit Singh Mann defeating the ruling party’s candidate on a Lok Sabha seat held last by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.
Simranjit Singh Mann beat his AAP rival Gurmail Singh by a margin of more than 5,800 votes from the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat, after a strong fight between the two.
The 77-year-old is a former MP and the president of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) – not related to the larger Shiromani Akali Dal. He was last elected from the same seat in 1999.
His election was viewed as an endorsement of Punjab’s hard-line religious “Panthic” politics that gained prominence at the height of the militancy in the state and was on the decline over the last two decades for some.
Simranjit Singh Mann also had the backing of Punjabi singer Sidhu Moose Wala who was shot dead by gangsters last month.
He dedicated his victory to the people of Sangrur and to the late actor and Congress leader Deep Sidhu and Moose Wala, “who gave their blood for the Sikh community”.
On winning, Simarjeet said “This will have repercussions on India’s politics. Many used to laugh and say ‘what will Simranjit Singh Mann do’. They have been proved wrong today,” Simranjit Mann said.
The bypoll to Sangrur Lok Sabha seat had witnessed a low turnout of 45.30 percent as against 72.44 percent polling in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and 76.71 percent in 2014 polls – a factor that the AAP blamed for their loss. There was 15.69 lakh eligible voters this time.
Sixteen candidates appeared for the contest on June 23. Congress’s Dalvir Singh Goldy, BJP’s Kewal Dhillon, and the Akali Dal’s Kamaldeep Kaur Rajoana stood third, fourth and fifth spots, respectively in the results.
The bypoll was necessitated due to the resignation of Bhagwant Mann from the Lok Sabha seat after he was elected as an MLA in the state assembly elections earlier this year.
Bhagwant Mann had won the Sangrur seat in the 2014 and 2019 parliamentary polls, managing to hold off a nationwide by the BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The bypoll was the first major electoral battle after the Aam Aadmi Party’s resounding victory in the state assembly polls in March this year.
For the ruling AAP, the bypoll was seen as a battle of prestige for retaining its bastion, while for opposition parties Congress, BJP and SAD were looking to register a win after being decimated in the assembly polls.
The AAP fielded Singh, 38, who is the party’s Sangrur district in charge, while the Congress candidate was former Dhuri MLA Goldy.
The BJP fielded former Barnala MLA Dhillon who joined the party early this month.
Sangrur parliamentary constituency is considered the bastion of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which won all the nine assembly segments — Lehra, Dirba, Barnala, Sunam, Bhadaur, Mehal Kalan, Malerkotla, Dhuri, and Sangrur in the 2022 assembly elections .
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