A known votary of the Khalistan movement, Simranjit Singh Mann was elected to Parliament from Sangrur, Punjab in a recently held by-poll. The seat vacated by Chief Minister of Punjab and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader, Bhagwant Singh Mann, went into Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar)’s kitty with Simranjit Singh Mann defeating the AAP candidate Gurmail Singh by 5,822 votes.
Bharatiya Janata Party, Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) failed to save their security deposits.
Simranjit Singh Mann’s controversial views on the Sikh separatist movement, Kashmir as well as Hindus are well known. In fact, until he won the Sangrur by-poll, his Twitter bio read: “President, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), 2 times MP, won with the highest margin of voters in 1989, striving for #Khalistan (sovereign state for Sikhs).”
However, he deleted his previous bio, where he clearly mentioned his ideological leanings, antithetical to the national interest.
However, the original bio was found restored after a few hours.
In an interview with ANI, Simranjit Singh Mann credited his win to the teachings of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, a Khalistani terrorist. He said that the Indian government cannot harm the Sikh community the way they “demolish the houses of Muslims or conduct army atrocities in Kashmir”. He also claimed that tribals of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Bihar are labelled as “Naxalite” and killed by the state.
His win has raised concerns about rising Khalistani forces within Punjab and has the potential to destabilise peace in the state. It has come as a huge setback to AAP, which had won the seat twice before. Unable to counter the growing anger of the masses, the three-month-old AAP government in Punjab looks, increasingly weak and directionless.
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