Bypolls to Punjab’s Sangrur Lok Sabha seat, in which the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is facing its first test of popularity after its stellar performance in the assembly polls, are to be held. The election is being held at a time when AAP is facing sharp criticism from the opposition over the law and order issue and the killing of singer Sidhu Musewala. AAP had won all the nine assembly seats under Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency in the 2022 assembly elections and is trying to repeat its performance in the Lok Sabha elections as well.
However, candidates of Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) are trying to make a difference here.
Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann campaigned extensively and held a roadshow along with AAP’s national convener Arvind Kejriwal, urging voters to choose the party’s candidate Gurmel Singh. Singh is also the party’s Sangrur district in-charge. Expressing confidence, Mann said that the revolutionary people of Sangrur should vote for the common man once again and Gurmail Singh of AAP is going to win the by-election with a thumping majority. During election campaign in Sangrur, Mann said that unlike the opposition, AAP is on issues like providing employment to youth, developing schools and hospitals, eliminating corruption and mafia elements, paving the way for re-rangala (vibrant) Punjab. contesting the by-election. The campaigning for the by-election to this seat ended on Tuesday evening. The main opposition Congress has fielded former Dhuri MLA Dalveer Singh Goldie in the bypoll, while the BJP has fielded former Barnala MLA Kewal Dhillon, who joined the party on June 4.
Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) chief Simranjit Singh Mann is also in the fray. The SAD has fielded Kamaldeep Kaur, sister of Balwant Singh Rajoana, convicted in the assassination of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh. The Sangrur Lok Sabha seat fell vacant after Bhagwant Mann contested and won the February 20 assembly elections from Dhuri. Mann had won the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat in 2014 and 2019 and resigned from the Lok Sabha membership after winning the assembly election from Dhuri seat. Congress, BJP and SAD targeted the AAP government in the state over the deteriorating law and order situation in the state and the killing of Punjabi singer Moosewala during the election campaign. Apart from the law and order situation, the opposition also criticized the AAP government for not fulfilling the promises. Congress’s Punjab unit president Amarinder Singh Raja Wading had said that the Sangrur by-poll will be a warning to AAP in the state and it cannot take the people of Punjab lightly. PLC/GT