Punjab bypoll results 2022: Sangrur shocker rings alarm bells for AAP ahead of Himachal, Gujarat elections

The AAP’s leaders have been facing the charge of being “inaccessible”, which used to be once the bugbear of the previous Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government.

The AAP’s leaders have been facing the charge of being “inaccessible”, which used to be once the bugbear of the previous Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government.

In a major upset in the Lok Sabha by-elections, the AAP on Sunday lost the Sangrur parliamentary seat vacated by Bhagwant Singh Mann when he became Punjab chief minister to SAD (Amritsar) president and ‘Khalistan’ proponent Simranjit Singh Mann. 

For the AAP, the humiliating defeat comes just three months after it registered a landslide victory in the 2022 assembly elections, winning 92 of the 117 assembly constituencies. CM Bhagwant Mann himself has won from Sangrur parliamentary constituency twice — in 2014 and 2019.

The bypoll was necessitated when Mann resigned from the seat after taking over as the CM on March 16. AAP candidate Gurmail Singh lost the seat despite party’s top leadership, including Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia, canvassing in the constituency. 

The defeat, coming just over three months after AAP wrested power, is an alarm bell for the party’s top leadership which is vying to take on the BJP and the Congress in the upcoming Assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat. 

The AAP’s leaders have been facing the charge of being “inaccessible”, which used to be once the bugbear of the previous Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government.

Adding to this, the killing of singer Sidhu Moosewala and the “deteriorating” law and order situation appeared to have worked against the Bhagwant Mann-led government. 

News agency PTI quoted political pundits citing disenchantment among voters over the issues like law and order situation and failure to deliver on pre-poll promises.   

The brutal murder of famous Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala was also being cited by the political experts as one of the factors which went against the ruling AAP in the bypoll. They said especially youths were angry over the killing of Moosewala, a day after his security cover along with 400 others was pruned.

Moosewala’s killing and the law and order situation were in fact the focus of poll campaigns of the opposition parties, particularly the Congress. 

Noted political analyst Sanjay Kumar said the Sangrur bypoll results should rather be seen as the victory of “an individual” than the defeat of the ruling AAP. “Look at the candidate who got elected. He has been a prominent figure in the state and he does not belong to any established political party. So it is the victory of the candidate rather than the party,” he said.

He, however, said the Sangrur bypoll results has sent out “a strong message” to the AAP in Punjab that people are not “overwhelmingly” in its favour even as the party came to power recording a landslide victory in the state assembly polls three months ago.

“They have to be very cautious and take this defeat as a rejection of the party in power,” Kumar, who is co-director of Delhi-based think tank Loknity-CSDS, told PTI.

He said the AAP won the Rajinder Nagar assembly seat in Delhi as it is a “tried and tested” political party in the national capital and its government has “performed well for almost 10 years now”. “While in Punjab, the party is still to be tested he added.

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