Sangrur LS bypolls: High-stake by-election sees low turnout

The bypolls come at a time when the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is facing the Opposition heat over the law and order issue and the killing of Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala

Rajesh MoudgilUpdated: Thursday, June 23, 2022, 09:07 PM IST
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LS polls |

Chandigarh: The high-stake by-election of the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat in Punjab saw a low turnout on Thursday; even though it was recorded to be a little over 36% by 5 pm, the same was likely to go higher to an extent.

The constituency had seen a turnout of 77.21%in 2014 and 72.4% I 2019.

Even though the chief minister Bhagwant Mann had urged upon the election commission of India to extend the voting time by an hour till 7 pm, the same was declined. Reacting to Mann’s request for extension for voting time, the opposition held that it was in the wake of an evident defeat of the ruling AAP. The ECI also questioned its officials for the reason behind the request towards the closing time.

The result of this by-election would be out on June 26.

The seat fell vacant after the two-time MP Bhagwant Mann won Dhuri assembly election in February this year and was subsequently sworn in as CM.

Mann had won from Sangrur in 2014 with a record margin of over 2.10 lakh votes defeating SAD candidate Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa. He was among four AAP MPs from Punjab in 2014 while in 2019, he was the lone AAP MP and he had defeated the then Congress candidate Kewal Singh Dhillon by more than 1.1 lakh votes.

In 2022 assembly election, the AAP came with a thumping majority with 92 out of the total 117 MLAs in the state assembly and all the nine assembly segments of Sangrur parliamentary seat were won by AAP MLAs with a high margins.

However, this by-poll has come at a time when the ruling AAP is facing severe criticism by the opposition over the law and order issue and the killing of popular Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala on May 29 just two days after his security was also pruned by the Mann-government.

The five main candidates in the fray are – the AAP’s Gurmel Singh, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar)’s Simranjit Singh Mann, Shiromani Akali Dal’s (SAD’s) Kamaldeep Kaur Rajoana, the Congress’ Dalvir Singh Goldy and the BJP’s Kewal Dhillon.

Even though the SAD had sought all the Panthic parties together fielded a family member of Sikh political prisoners languishing in jail as a candidate, Simranjit Singh Mann ignored its appeal following which the SAD fielded Kamaldeep Kaur Rajoana who is the sister of one such prisoner, Balwant Singh Rajoana, a convict in the assassination of the then chief minister Beant Singh.

Even though Congress’ Goldy, a former student leader, had won the Dhuri seat, he but had lost to Bhagwant Mann from the Dhuri assembly seat in 2022.

BJP’s candidate Dhillon, a two-time Congress MLA, a known industrialist and considered to be a confidant of former Congress chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh had lost in the 2017 assembly polls to AAP’s Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer by a narrow margin of 2,432 votes. He contested in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Sangrur, where too he lost to Bhagwant Mann by over 1 lakh votes. He was expelled from the Congress in February this year for anti-party activities.

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