Punjab: In Sangrur, AAP faces acid test of retaining ‘stronghold’

Locked in a battle of prestige in Sangrur, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is making last ditch efforts to swing the Lok Sabha byelection in its favour by bringing out the big guns in Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann’s bastion.

Mann had to vacate the Sangrur seat after getting elected from Dhuri in the recent Punjab Vidhan Sabha elections.
The bypoll is scheduled for June 23 and Tuesday is the last day of campaigning. Sangrur is likely to be the ruling AAP’s first acid test, three months after forming the government in Punjab with a sweeping majority in the Vidhan Sabha elections.

The Congress this time has fielded former Dhuri MLA Dalvir Singh Goldy for the Lok Sabha bypolls, with the BJP going with Kewal Dhillon and the SAD fielding Kamaldeep Kaur Rajoana, the sister of Beant Singh’s assassin Balwant Singh Rajoana.

The AAP has been stung by criticism especially after singer-turned-politician Sidhu Moosewala’s murder, and the party has its hopes pinned on Sangrur to not just win, but also secure a respectable margin to drive a message home that it still enjoyed the confidence of the people which propelled it to power some months ago.

Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and other ministers have been camping in Sangrur in favour of party candidate, Gurmail Singh.

The CM has thrust himself at the forefront, campaigning aggressively for Gurmail for almost a week. Mann had left for Sangrur on June 15, the day Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, was in Jalandhar to flag off state-run direct buses to Delhi international airport.

“The election is a cakewalk for us. The CM is working hard. He has been here since June 15. We had Kejriwal ji also. Rajya Sabha member and our strategist Dr Sandeep Pathak is also camping there,” said Punjab AAP’s chief spokesperson, Malvinder Singh Kang.

On Monday, Delhi CM Kejriwal was back campaigning in Sangrur, a day after Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia campaigned in area for the upcoming polls and held a meeting with the traders.

The AAP’s road in Sangrur has not been without speedbumps, with the party facing protests earlier from ETT teachers and contractual employees, who raised slogans as the convoy of Kejriwal passed.

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