Chandigarh: The ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Punjab on Thursday named the Congress turncoat Sushil Kumar Rinku as its candidate for the Jalandhar Lok Sabha by-election, scheduled to be held on May 10.
Rinku had joined AAP on Wednesday only! He was welcomed into the party-fold by the party supremo Arvind Kejriwal and the Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann.
The said by-election was necessitated due to the demise of two-time Congress MP Santokh Singh Chaudhary. The 76-year old two-time MP had died due to cardiac arrest during the Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra in Jalandhar’s Phillaur area on January 14, this year.
The Congress has already announced Chaudhary’s wife Karamjit Kaur as its nominee for the by-poll. Chaudhary, who belonged to a well-known Dalit family, was son of Master Gurbanta Singh, a Dalit icon of the state. Chaudhary’s elder brother Jagjit Singh was a five-time MLA while he had himself been also two time MLA besides being an MP for as many terms. Chaudhary's son, Vikramjit Singh Chaudhary, is the Congress MLA from Phillaur assembly constituency.
Who is Sushil Kumar Rinku?
Rinku was the Congress MLA from Jalandhar (west) seat in the previous assembly but was defeated by the AAP candidate Sheetal Angural in the 2022 polls. A statement of the party - which had expelled Rinku for ``anti-party activities’’ after his joining AAP - said he had been in touch with the AAP for over a month prior to joining the ruling party.
Meanwhile, according to information, Rinku’s entry into AAP had also reportedly angered its Jalandhar (west) MLA Angural who had defeated him with a margin of over 4,000 votes. However, Angural was said to have been pacified by the senior AAP leaders as he could also be seen on the occasion of Rinku’s inclusion into AAP.
Jalandhar LS by-poll crucial for AAP
Meanwhile, the Jalandhar Lok Sabha by-election is seen to be crucial for the ruling AAP which had come to power in March last year with a landslide win with 92 out of the total 117 assembly seats but had lost the Sangrur Lok Sabha by-poll a few months later (in June) last year. This by-poll was necessitated because of chief minister Bhagwant Mann vacating this Lok Sabha seat after winning Dhuri assembly seat. The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) candidate Simranjit Singh Mann won Sangrur Lok Sabha seast by defeating the AAP candidate by over 5,800 votes.
The Sangrur Lok Sabha seat had been represented by chief minister Bhagwant Mann since 2014, till he won the Dhuri assembly seat in February 2022, necessitating this by-election.