CM Bhagwant Mann faces first major poll battle after winning Punjab

Bhagwant Mann-led AAP in Punjab will be facing its first major poll battle in Sangrur Lok Sabha bypolls in which polling will be held on Thursday (June 23).

The polls come at a time when the AAP is facing opposition heat over the law and order issue and the killing of popular singer Sidhu Moose Wala.

A total of 16 candidates — 13 men and three women — are in the fray. Amid tight security, the polling will take place from 8 am to 6 pm and the counting of votes will be taken up on June 26. The poll campaigning for the high stakes bypoll ended on Tuesday evening.

Candidates fielded by the Congress, BJP and SAD are hoping to cause an election upset while the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is looking to repeat its feat of the 2022 assembly polls in which it won all nine assembly segments under the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat.

During his poll campaign in Sangrur, the CM said unlike the opposition, the AAP is contesting the bypoll on issues, including providing jobs to youngsters, developing schools and hospitals, eradicating corruption and mafia elements, to pave the way for a “Rangla (vibrant) Punjab” again.

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Parties contesting the bypoll

Gurmail Singh has been nominated by AAP for the seat. The main opposition Congress has fielded former Dhuri MLA Dalvir Singh Goldy in the bypoll while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded former Barnala MLA Kewal Dhillon, who joined the saffron party on June 4. 

Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) chief Simranjit Singh Mann is also in the fray. Kamaldeep Kaur, the sister of Balwant Singh Rajoana, a convict in former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh’s assassination case, has been fielded by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

The Congress, the BJP and the SAD had hit out at the AAP dispensation during the campaigning over the “deteriorating” law and order situation in the state and also raised the killing of Punjabi singer Moosewala.

Apart from law and order, the opposition parties have slammed the AAP government over “unfulfilled promises”.

Sangrur Lok Sabha seat

The Sangrur Lok Sabha seat fell vacant after Bhagwant Mann contested the February 20 Assembly polls from Dhuri and won.

Bhagwant Mann had won the Sangrur seat in 2014 and 2019 parliamentary elections and resigned as MP after he won the Dhuri assembly seat.

Of the remaining 12 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab, the Congress has eight members, while two each are of the BJP and SAD.

There are 15,69,240 eligible voters — 8,30,056 men, 7,39,140 women and 44 transgenders — in the Sangrur parliamentary constituency.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Originally published at www.dnaindia.com

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