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Sangrur Bypoll Shows Simranjit Singh Mann Got Panthic Votes In Large Numbers

Sangrur voters including Akalis who had voted for AAP during VS polls make a u-turn.

Simranjit Singh
Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) President Simranjit Singh Mann and other party leaders during a press conference, at Punjab Press Club, in Jalandhar. (ANI Photo/File)

Chandigarh: Voters of Sangrur like to shock everyone. When the early trends of the Sangrur Lok Sabha by-polls started trickling in this morning, it seemed the Sangrur Lok Sabha by-polls results will be a photo finish.

A local adage went viral, with a bunch of youngsters saying, (“Sadda ni kasur sadda zila sangrur”) contextually it meant we (voters of Sangrur) like to shock everyone. Indeed, everybody came to know of the imminent shock as Simranjit Singh Mann of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) was then ahead in the race by about 800 votes compared to his nearest rival Gurmail Singh of the Aam Aadmi Party AAP.

A quick stock-taking revealed what may have transpired. Sangrur Lok Sabha by-poll results show the massive shift of the panthic votes to Simranjit Singh Mann, the Akali Dal (Amritsar) candidate. But that is after the results.

But many, among those who were in the thick of it, could foresee it including Akali Dal (B) supremo Sukhbir Singh Badal. Twice recently, Mann had Badal (Jr) as his guest. What transpired no one knows. But the core Akali votes went to Simranjit Singh Mann.

“Somewhere down the line, Sukhbir Singh Badal understood that people will choose the original rather than the duplicate if panthic issues are what voters will vote for,” said a Sangrur-based journalist who has his ear to the ground.

After all, Mann was the first bandi Sikh who was jailed for five years after he resigned as an Indian Police Service IPS officer in protest of Operation Bluestar in June 1984, he said.

“Thus the panthic votes which earlier went to Akalis, and during the recently concluded Vidhan Sabha polls went to AAP, this time voted for Simranjit Singh Mann.” And the results prove that. Mann won by a margin of 5,822 defeating his nearest rival Gurmail Singh of the Aam Aadmi Party AAP. Prof Kanwalpreeta, a professor of Political Science at Chandigarh, said, “Don’t’ think of it as Gurmail Singh’s loss. This is the defeat of Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on his home turf”, he added.

Mann won due to five-cornered contest

Within three months of forming government in Punjab, for the AAP it was a loss of face, Congress never seemed truly in the race, BJP fared better, while Akalis continued to go down the vortex.

“Apart from a massive shift in panthic votes, Mann’s victory was cemented further by BJP and Congress’ presence. The votes garnered by Kewal Dhillon of the Bharatiya Janata Party BJP, and Dalvir Singh Goldy of the Congress may have spoiled AAP’s votes, even if by a few thousand,” said Prof Sukhwinder Singh, who works for grassroots democracy in rural Punjab.

Mann got 2,53,154 votes which were 5,822 votes more than Gurmail Singh who polled 2,47,332 votes. Goldy polled 79,668 votes followed by BJP’s Kewal Dhillon who got 66,298 votes while Kamaldeep Kaur ended at the bottom with 44,428 votes.

Mann thanks Bhindranwale, Moosewala

During Mann’s victory rally, young and old did the favourite Moosewala thigh-slap step as the slain rapper’s song SYL, which was taken off the YouTube today was being played loud in the backdrop. When Mann was asked whom would he thank for the victory, he said, “I would like to thank Sant Bhindranwale, Moosewala sahib, and Deep Sidhu.”

The youth in the victory rally kept raising slogans Deep Sidhu zindabad, Moosewala zindabad. Prof Mohammad Khalid distilled Mann’s victory thus, “A khichdi of factors may have worked in Mann’s favour. Mann raked up issues of the murder of Moosewala, and Deep Sidhu’s death quite vocally among the youth. Also, the core Akali votes which earlier voted for Akali Dal (Badal) definitely shifted to Mann. Voters may have reawakened to the issues which are core to Punjab – SYL, Punjab’s stake in Chandigarh, etc.”

Prof Khalid added, that one thing is clear, “The traditional parties – SAD (B), Congress, and BJP have been rejected again. The competition was between a strong party (AAP) with an aam (common) candidate as opposed to a strong candidate whose party really doesn’t matter. For the voters of Sangrur, Mann represents the real Akalis agenda.”

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