Other States

AAP govt. faces test of popularity, Opposition heat in Sangrur bypoll

The chosen one: Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann (right) with AAP candidate Gurmail Singh after filing papers for the Sangrur byelection.

The chosen one: Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann (right) with AAP candidate Gurmail Singh after filing papers for the Sangrur byelection. | Photo Credit: PTI

Three months after it swept the Punjab Assembly polls, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is locked in a multi-cornered electoral battle with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat.

All the major parties in the fray are sparing no effort in ensuring that their candidates emerge victorious in the bypoll, which is scheduled for June 23.

Vacant seat

Amid growing criticism from the Opposition over the law and order situation in the State, the bypoll will be a test of AAP’s popularity since it formed the government in March.

The seat fell vacant after Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann contested and won from the Dhuri seat in the Assembly polls.

On Monday, the party deputed six Cabinet Ministers to seek votes for its candidate, Gurmail Singh, by highlighting the ‘pro-people’ initiatives of the government over the past three months.

Mr. Singh, who is the party’s Sangrur district in-charge, has started door-to-door campaigning with party MLAs. He is also addressing ‘nukkad meetings’ in villages and towns in the constituency.

‘CM abandoning voters’

Seeking votes in favour of the joint SAD-Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate, Kamaldeep Kaur Rajoana, Akali chief Sukhbir Singh Badal at a meeting in Sangrur accused Mr. Mann of abandoning the people of the constituency after taking over the reins of the State.

Mr. Badal said Mr. Mann had outsourced the State’s governance to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. He also accused Mr. Mann of failing to conduct a tour of Sangrur to thank the voters that elected him twice to the Lok Sabha in 2014 and 2019.

“No development work has been initiated in Sangrur and even ongoing projects have been stopped. This AAP government has given nothing and taken the State to the brink of disaster with the total breakdown of law and order,” Mr. Badal said.

The Congress, which has fielded former Dhuri MLA Dalvir Singh Goldy, has termed Mr. Mann a “weak and helpless” Chief Minister remote-controlled from Delhi.

State unit chief Amarinder Singh Raja Warring said Mr. Mann had miserably failed Punjab and its people. He said Mr. Mann should explain who is actually governing the State.

“Be sincere to your conscience and tell the Punjabis if you are really in control of things or being controlled by someone else,” he said.

‘Atmosphere of fear’

Mr. Warring said there was an atmosphere of fear in Punjab as the police had failed to nab the culprits in all major crimes.

The BJP, which has placed its bet on former Barnala MLA Kewal Dhillon, who joined the party on June 4, has also cornered the AAP government over the law and order situation.

Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) chief Simranjit Singh Mann is also in the fray for the bypoll.


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Printable version | Jun 14, 2022 1:34:49 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/aap-govt-faces-test-of-popularity-opposition-heat-in-sangrur-bypoll/article65523746.ece