Sangrur Bypoll Result Is Not A Cause Of Worry Just For AAP
Simranjit Singh Mann has won the Sangrur Lok Sabha bypoll defeating AAP's candidate in a low turnout election. But there are a few concerns.
Secessionist Mann: Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) President Mann writes in his Twitter bio, "striving for #Khalistan (sovereign state for Sikhs)".
Mann has been at the forefront in the campaign led under the guidance of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to release Bandi Singhs which included Khalistani terrorists who have spent their sentences in prisons.
Mann had contested the 2022 assembly elections from Amargarh but lost by around just 6,000 votes. Hence, his victory doesn't come out of the blue amid polarisation in the state.
SAD (Badal) is no good too: While Mann can be blamed to ignore the appeals to withdraw from the contest, the SAD(B) and BSP candidate was not a good alternative either.
The two had jointly fielded Kulwinder Kaur Rajoana, the sister of terrorist Balwant Singh Rajoana, convicted for his part in assassinating former Chief Minister Beant Singh.
The Bandhak Rihayi Committee of the SGPC also had the Badals, Paramjit Sarna and others on board alongside SS Mann.
Troubles for AAP: The loss in Sangrur has left AAP with zero MPs in the Lok Sabha. The loss looks stark in the context of a landslide victory in the state, just a few months before.
The present CM Bhagwant Mann had vacated the seat, and such a result would be seen as a verdict on him and the state government.
This can be read as a sign of major disillusionment with the ‘badlaav’ that AAP ushered in.
The optics of Bhagwant Mann being sidelined in a car rally by Arvind Kejriwal didn't go down well as it was portrayed as a belittling of the stature of Punjab.
AAP secured 34.8 per cent of votes in the bypoll, a dip from over 42 per cent of all votes in the state. It can perhaps take solace from the fact that it is now a pole in the politics of Punjab.
How other parties performed: The SAD-B and BSP combined could not even secure 7 per cent of the total polled votes.
It is rather interesting to note that the BJP, despite supposed unpopularity, managed to secure more than 9 per cent of the total votes polled.
Congress has fallen down even further in terms of the vote share. It secured 11.2 per cent of the total votes polled.
Despite a fall, AAP's vote tally is nearly double that of the Congress and the SAD-B’s alliance put together.
Panthic leadership: While the SGPC has been desperately seeking to revive the fortunes of SAD-B, the vacuum created by their collapse in the Panthic leadership has meant people are seeking to try alternatives.
This is where SS Mann has emerged as an option that they would like to try, given how the credibility of the Badal family stands at an all-time low.
If with time Mann indeed emerges as the Panthic leader, it remains to be seen is the direction in which he will perhaps take the Panth henceforth, and whether he will like to avoid the clouds of gloom that dominate the skies.
It is also clear that the SGPC and the Panth at large has clearly rejected the idea of AAP as a party of choice. AAP is very unlikely to repeat the kind of mandate it had managed to achieve in March 2022.
Bottomline: There is a need to ensure that significant attention is paid at the senior most levels of the powers that be to prevent anarchy from becoming the norm in Punjab, and that the control is tightened significantly.
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